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With Rent Hikes Looming, Cooper Square Tenants Worry They’ll Be Kicked While Down

cooper squareSarah Darville Postal and other businesses on East Fourth.

Store owners already struggling to get by are worried about a significant rent increase planned by their landlord, the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association.

The Local spoke to about a half dozen shopkeepers on Third and Fourth Streets, between Bowery and Second Avenue, who said they were grappling with a sluggish economy as well as challenges unique to their blocks. Some worried they would follow in the footsteps of La Sirena, which earlier this week announced that it would be closing, should they too face rent hikes of what is expected to be around 30 percent.

At Postal, a packing and shipping store on Fourth Street, owner Gary Patick said he alternates between busy days and days when “nothing happens,” and doubted he’d have any room to negotiate when his lease expires in two years. He described his profits, which in 2010 and 2011 were their lowest in a decade, as “a real roller coaster” and said that one-third of them go toward rent payments.  Read more…

Howl! Festival: Looking for a Happy Fix in Tompkins Square Park

Photos: Chris O. Cook.

It’s Allen Ginsberg’s birthday weekend and today Tompkins Square Park was buzzing with art, dance, music, and, um, bouncy castles and face-painting. Yes: it’s Howl! Festival.

Howl! Festival, Bob HolmanChris O. Cook Bob Holman, a festival organizer.

Bob Perl, an organizer of the annual happening, told The Local it was created as a nod to the neighborhood’s abounding influence. “The idea was that the East Village mindset is not just tied to here,” he said. “It’s had effects in places like Kyoto. There are creatives who come out of here and they become part of the diaspora and there are some that remain here, but this is a great place for us to all gather, and an opportunity for everyone to come out at least for a few days a year to create the scene that was so potent and vital down here.”

Indeed, the festival drew many former East Villagers, including Susan Martin, who came back from her current home in New Mexico to serve as Howl!’s publicist. She was keen to emphasize that the festival raises money for Howl! H.E.L.P., created to provide emergency assistance to local artists. “Up until the time of Howl!, if you were a drag queen and you got sick, and you didn’t have health insurance, good luck,” she said. Read more…

Amid Hope for Revival, Rent Is Life Cafe’s Undoing

IMG_2761Daniel Maurer Construction work on the building today.

As recently as yesterday, Kathy Kirkpatrick was holding out hope that Life Cafe would be resurrected in spite of the “For Rent” sign in the window of her iconic restaurant and a simmering dispute between her two landlords (yes, she has two).

“I’m still waiting to see how it plays out,” Ms. Kirkpatrick said. “Things are getting resolved, things are developing — though meanwhile, I wait.”

But today the dispute boiled over and Bob Perl, one of her landlords, said Life Cafe was dead — he could no longer bear trying to negotiate with Abraham Noy, the other landlord.

“I can’t get it done,” Mr. Perl said. “I’m done with Noy – these guys are just impossible.” Read more…

Life Cafe Back to Life? Owner in Talks With Potential Business Partners

lifeRay Lemoine Work was being done inside of Life earlier today.

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel for Life Cafe.

Owner Kathy Kirkpatrick and landlord Bob Perl have been in talks with potential business partners who would pave the way for the shuttered cafe at East 10th Street and Avenue B to finally reopen, much to the relief of “Rentheads” everywhere.

“There are other parties who want to partner with Kathy and I am talking to them,” said Mr. Perl. “There is a possibility it could go on — whether it does I’m not sure.”

Ms. Kirkpatrick confirmed the discussions, but had little to add. “It has to do with the landlord agreeing to work together and cooperate,” she said. Read more…

Owner Guts Life Cafe; Landlord Says Repairs Will Be Done Soon

The moving truck at Life CafeStephen Rex Brown The moving truck outside of Life Cafe.

Kathy Kirkpatrick, the owner of Life Cafe, was spotted moving kitchen equipment out of the beloved eatery this afternoon — the latest sign that her business remains in limbo.

Ms. Kirkpatrick, who closed down the cafe in September because of the condition of the building, told The Local she remained frustrated with her landlords.

“Significant work still needs to be done,” she said. “There is scaffolding; a pigeon coop with [crap] falling on the sidewalk; they ripped down my awning; no one can see the cafe; there are sloping floors; they ripped off frontage, exposing ugly brick.”

But one of the landlords of the building, Bob Perl, said that the repairs should only last around 45 more days. “She could have been in possession all through this time,” Mr. Perl said. “Construction to repair the building is ongoing right now.”
Read more…