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BANJO JIM’S - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


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BANJO JIM’S

The Day | A Blaze on Avenue D


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Fire EngineSusan Keyloun

Good morning, East Village.

Have you seen the bus stop sign on St. Marks Place that seems to have been hacked down like an old oak tree? If not, Neighborhoodr has some fun photos. “No Standing” indeed.

In other news, the fire department had an early wake up call this morning. DNAinfo reports that a minor fire broke out at 5:43 a.m. at 40 Avenue D. It took firefighters 30 minutes to control the blaze on the eighth floor. No one was hurt and the cause of the fire is being investigated.

Finally, after the closing of Banjo Jim’s was delayed, the staff of the bluegrass, jazz, and Americana bar has now announced (per EV Grieve) that Monday is the final day of business. As you know, new owner Rob Ceraso is converting the space into an artisanal cocktail bar.


The Day | Is Aziz Ansari The Mayor of the East Village?


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Laundromat, Lower East Side, New York City - 0001Vivienne Gucwa

Top of the morning to you, East Village!

Ephemeral New York mourns some bygone record shops, including the Saint Mark’s Music Exchange, but it’s not all doom and gloom on St. Marks. EV Grieve notices that the space that briefly housed the CBGB store now hosts a tattoo and tobacco accessories shop. Speaking of CBGB, Bowery Boogie reports that John Varvatos and Jesse Malin of Niagara are teaming up to host a Sirius XM show, “New York Nights…Direct from the Bowery.”

EV Grieve notices web postings indicating that Bar on A seems to be for sale and Banjo Jim will close on Tuesday; meanwhile City Room remembers Mars Bar’s alternate identity as an art gallery, and WNYC also revisits the dive’s closing. Elsewhere on the art scene, EV Grieve gets a glimpse of the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s food menu, by East Williamsburg pizza destination Roberta’s; and the Times considers Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s online gallery of photographs from the East Village in the 1980s, also on display at the Asia Society.

Finally, New York magazine strolls the neighborhood with onetime “mayor of the East Village” Aziz Ansari. The actor and comedian identifies “East Village dogs” and interrogates a NYC Icy employee: “This is pumpkin flavor, not pumpkin-pie flavor. Pumpkin pie has pie crust in it.”


Liquor License Transfer Approved


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Banjo Jim'sMeghan Keneally The transfer was approved for Banjo Jim’s.

The State Liquor Authority Committee of Community Board 3 Monday night endorsed the transfer of the liquor license at Banjo Jim’s, the popular bluegrass bar on Avenue C.

The transfer of the bar’s liquor license was said to be the only issue left to be resolved before the bar was sold to an ownership group led by Robert Ceraso. The next step is for the Community Board to pass along its recommendation to the State Liquor Authority.

The new license allows for acoustic guitar accompanied by microphone amplification and DJs up to two times per week. The hours will remain the same as they are at Banjo Jim’s currently — 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. throughout the week, and then from noon until 4 a.m. on the weekends. Few other details were finalized at Monday’s meeting, except that the signage will change — perhaps unsurprising since Mr. Ceraso has indicated that he will depart from the bluegrass theme and opt for an “artisanal” motif, which may not fit with the large banjo on the current sign over the bar’s front door. The bar’s new doors will be barn-style with glass windows that can be lifted and opened in the summer months.


Debating an ‘Artisanal’ Vision for a Bar


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Banjo Jim'sMeghan Keneally. A staple of the East Village music scene, the future of Banjo Jim’s is up for approval.

After the blogger EV Grieve reported that changes may be coming to Banjo Jim’s, a popular bluegrass bar on Avenue C, locals took to their keyboards and headed to the blog’s comments section in anguish.

The bar’s prospective owner, Robert Ceraso, told the blog that he will be presenting a plan to the State Liquor Authority Committee of Community Board 3 tonight asking that the liquor license for the bar be tranferred to he and his partners. In describing his vision for his bar, Mr. Ceraso said that he envisioned it as an “artisanal neighborhood cocktail bar.” And that did him in.

Commenters skewered his use of the word, likening it to buzzwords of trends past, and immediately branded him as one of the big bad developers swooping in to discard the East Village of old.

One commenter, Chris Flash, wrote: “Yet another cool unpretentious music venue lost on the LES, to be replaced by yet ANOTHER yuppie dive, as if Ceraso’s dive will be different from any other dive!!”

Another, Bowery Boogie, said: “Missing Banjo Jim’s already. Artisinal is one of those buzz words that makes me puke every time.”

Mr. Ceraso said that the reaction was not totally unexpected.

“I knew there was going to be some backlash,” Mr. Ceraso said in a telephone interview. “People don’t like change and they turned me into some crazy guy that wants to change the neighborhood.”
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