Post tagged with


First Avenue Restaurant Activity: Efendi and One Twenty-Two

122Daniel MaurerOne Twenty-Two

More changes on the First Avenue restaurant strip. South Brooklyn Pizza, which filed for bankruptcy protection last August, is still slinging pies. It had once planned to expand into the former Rubens Empanada space next door. Instead, we have a new contender, One Twenty-Two First Avenue.

efendiDaniel MaurerEfendi

Meanwhile, the unusual taco-gyro-falafel haven, Mediterranean Grill and Tapas has morphed into Efendi. It looks like a reasonable bet that the space has resolved its identity crisis by plumping conclusively for the Middle East: “efendi,” of course, is Turkish for lord and master, and the eagle-eyed will notice that hookahs have entered the equation.

First Avenue Convenience Store To Be Replaced by Similar

Hetal 111 First Convenience StoreSuzanne Rozdeba

Hetal 111 First Convenience Store on First Avenue was being cleared out by workers today, and a new business is already planned in its place.

“I’m opening a convenience store at 111 First Avenue. That’s my lucky number,” laughed Zahid, the new owner, who declined to give The Local his last name. The number is also the address of the store.

Zahid owns another convenience store in a “quiet” area of Kew Gardens, Queens, but said he likes the vibrancy of the East Village. “There’s life over there. You can see that. I lived in Karachi in Pakistan, and back then, it was thickly populated. It was busy 24 hours. That’s in my system,” he said.

“My target is to open hopefully the first week of next month,” he said. He will sell items including magazines, newspapers, health and beauty aids, candy, beer, and soda. He plans on staying open from 6 a.m. until midnight, and later on weekends.

The store will be called 111 Convenience Store. Sometimes, at least, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Bean Now Brewing On First Avenue, and Still Fighting Starbucks

The BeanDaniel Maurer

The Bean finally opened its outpost at First Avenue and Ninth Street this morning. When The Local stopped in, manager Guy Puglia was busy setting up the WiFi and co-owner Ike Escava was anticipating a shipment of outdoor benches.

the bean 5Daniel Maurer James Wechsler’s art.

The coffee spot’s third location (and its last one for now, said Mr. Escava) is the same size as the Second Avenue cafe that opened in December, though it has 10 more seats (60 in all). It’s offering the same array of muffins, danishes, espresso drinks, smoothies, and – oh, yes! – frozen hot chocolate, but won’t be in the beer and wine business anytime soon: the owners decided not to go for a license after neighbors voiced opposition.

Despite the lack of that particular competitive edge, Mr. Escava said he wasn’t concerned that a Starbucks is opening just a few blocks up First Avenue. Read more…

Deadly Hit-and-Run at Union Square

A truck struck and killed a 21-year-old woman crossing the street at Union Square early this morning and then fled the scene, the police said.

The truck was traveling eastbound on East 14th Street at around 1:15 a.m. when it made the turn onto Broadway and hit the victim, who was crossing Broadway, according to the police. The name of the victim, who was pronounced dead at Beth Israel Hospital, has not yet been released. The police have not made any arrests for the incident.

In an example of particularly grim timing, a new short video by Karen Loew, who lives near East 14th Street, highlights the particularly dangerous intersection with First Avenue, only three blocks away from the fatal accident. Read more…

Arrest Made For Attempted Rape, Says Lieutenant (Updated)

Screen shot 2011-11-14 at 8.51.11 AM Surveillance footage released by N.Y.P.D.

The police have arrested a suspect in Sunday’s early-morning attempted rape, Lieutenant Patrick Ferguson of the Ninth Precinct announced tonight.

Mr. Ferguson said that he had just heard about the arrest shortly before addressing around 25 attendees at a Ninth Precinct Community Council meeting and had no further information. A police spokesman had not yet received any information regarding the arrest of the suspect, either. [See update below.] Read more…

The End of Rat City

IMG_0272Kenan Christiansen The former capital of rats at 33 East First Street.

“It’s the most ratted place around,” the neighbors used to say, but that’s no longer true.

On May 13, a construction crew arrived at the empty lot of 33 East First Street with heavy gear and a back-hoe. Rubble and rock was dumped into the sink hole, jack-hammers hammered, ply went up all around, and by the hour of noon the capital of rats in the southern East Village had fallen.

For some 20 years the rats held sway there, and built up a mighty empire from the lowly abandoned lot. Even the taxi drivers who stopped to refill at the gas station across the street were careful not to venture too close to their lair. They seemed invincible, but now it’s all over.

On the construction permit posted on the fencing, it states that a concrete slab will cover the place, and as The Local reported back in February, that the Guggenheim intends to erect a temporary urban lab at the location. The locals will not soon forget the hoards that lived in burrows under the property. But rat lovers can rest assured that their furry friends are quite alright, and have simply moved on, probably into that collapsed building at Houston and Second Avenue.

From there they will likely intensify their operations, and continue to enjoy their favorite pastime: scaring the tourists.

RAT_CITY_FINAL-Slide07LrgPhoto Illustration by Tim Milk

For Firefighters, An Eventful Morning

Stephen Rex Brown Four fire trucks were on the scene.

It was a busy morning for firefighters in the East Village.

After an earlier incident involving shaken-up students on a school bus, four fire trucks responded to a defective oil burner inside of a building near 14th Street and First Avenue, according to a Fire Department spokesman.

The trucks were on the scene for about 15 minutes, beginning at around 9:30 a.m. Fortunately, firefighters didn’t face a long drive back to the station house: the garage for Engine Company 5 was directly across the street. —Stephen Rex Brown

A Business Closes and Cites Bike Lanes

Mara's HomemadeElizabeth Vulaj The owner of Mara’s Homemade, who recently announced that the restaurant is closing its doors, cited bike lanes that were installed last summer as part of the reason that the restaurant saw a decline in business.

Taxes and the rent have gone up but Mara Levi mostly blames the bike lanes for having to close Mara’s Homemade, her authentic New Orleans-style restaurant on East Sixth Street near First Avenue. If the customers come from all over the tri-state area and even beyond, she said, a restaurant has to have parking.

Ms. Levi said that she now pays double for taxes than she did when she opened seven years ago, but that the addition of the bike lanes, which opened in July and reduced the number of available street parking spaces, have significantly contributed to the business’ decline.

“We saw a drop in business the day those lanes came in,” said Ms. Levi. “When you go from twelve parking spaces per block to three, that makes a difference.”

In January, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg conceded that city officials should have notified residents when they decided to install the lanes. Levi said she was not even aware of any plans until one evening, where she saw construction workers toiling away on First Avenue.

“One night we come out, and they were marking lanes and paving,” said Ms. Levi. “It was a total surprise. There was no input from the community and it upset me a lot.”
Read more…