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Making It | Petra Olivieri of Raul’s Candy Store

For every East Village business that’s opening or closing, dozens are quietly making it. Here’s one of them: Raul’s Candy Store.

RaulCandyMelvin Felix

Some major changes are coming to Loisaida: Avenue D is getting luxury rentals as well as a pizzeria from Kim’s Video. But around the corner from where La Isla recently shuttered, Raul’s Candy Store holds down fort. The bodega is no stranger to changes: it opened in 1976 at 190 Avenue D, then moved to 208 Avenue B about five years later. Now it’s a few doors down at 205 Avenue B – a sign in the window reading “Absolutely No Drugs or Hanging Out” harkens back to an earlier era. The Local spoke, in Spanish, to Petra Olivieri, wife of owner Raul Santiago (they’re celebrating their 45th anniversary this year).


When did you move to this location?


I can’t remember. But between there and here, we’ve been in business 35 years. We used to pay $100 for rent when we were at Avenue D. Then it started going up: $200, $300. Here, we now pay $2,400. So we have to sell a lot more. Read more…

Satirist Nikolas Kozloff on East Village Anarchists, Pet Owners, and Pie Men

Post-Academic Stress Disorder

Around the time he moved from SoHo to East 12th Street in 2004, Nikolas Kozloff – author of three non-fiction books about Latin America and numerous pieces about Occupy Wall Street for Al Jazeera and Huffington Post – was writing a novel loosely based on his brief tenure as an adjunct professor at CUNY. “Post-Academic Stress Disorder,” which Mr. Kozloff, 43, finally self-published last month, is the story of a young, socially vexed young man attempting to carve out a niche for himself in academia, latching onto subcultures in his new East Village neighborhood, and desperately seeking love and companionship – all while dodging a nefarious plot hatched by a fellow faculty member. The Local asked Mr. Kozloff, who now resides in Brooklyn, just how much of his novel’s wry observations about the anarchists, spiritualists, health nuts, pet lovers, and pie-throwers of the East Village were based on his six months there.


To what degree does your novel portray an exaggerated version of the East Village? The scene where the narrator, Andy, visits A&H Dairy (an exaggerated version of B&H) and is told that his grandfather had an affair with the neighborhood’s great anarchist, Emma Goldman, is pretty over the top.  Read more…

In East Village, Minorities Stopped and Questioned in Greater Numbers

Obie JohnsonJared Malsin Obie Johnson, 66, a Marine veteran, said he was
stopped and searched by the police.

In the East Village last year, blacks and Hispanics were stopped and questioned by the police more often than whites, according to newly released stop-and-frisk statistics and a street poll conducted by The Local. The neighborhood’s new Commanding Officer touts the effectiveness of the controversial policy, but some residents complain that it has been used to unfairly target minorities.

According to data obtained from the Police Department by the New York Civil Liberties Union and released yesterday, police officers stopped and questioned people in the Ninth Precinct (which covers the East Village) 3,614 times in 2011. Of those stopped, 1,113 were black, and 1,200 were listed as either “black Hispanic” or “white Hispanic.” Altogether, 63 percent of those stopped were either black or Hispanic –  even though, according to 2010 census data, those groups made up just 33.1 percent of the neighborhood’s population. Just 28 percent of those stopped (about 1,033 people) were white, though 63 percent of East Village residents belonged to that race.

Those numbers are in keeping with an informal poll in which The Local surveyed 107 people, roughly half of them on Second Avenue, and half on Avenue C. Of 55 people approached at Second Avenue and Fourth Street, only three (six percent) said they had been stopped and questioned. On Avenue C and Fourth Street, 14 out of 52 people (about 27 percent) said they had been stopped and questioned.

During a conversation with The Local, Captain John Cappelmann, the new Commanding Officer of the Ninth Precinct, described stop-and-frisk as an “effective crime-fighting tool,” citing a Monday morning arrest in connection with a string of restaurant robberies in the neighborhood. He hypothesized, “If someone had seen one of the perps walking down the street the other day with a crow bar right before he crow-barred the window? You want to stop him before he commits the crime, right?”

But many East Village residents who spoke with The Local said they believed that stop-and-frisk was being applied selectively – a concern that last month prompted Community Board 3 to support a resolution, brought by Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, calling for the policy’s reform. Mr. Stringer, who spoke at a protest on Tuesday, has blamed the enforcement technique for “creating a wall of distrust between people of color and the police,” and is calling for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into whether the Police Department is committing racial profiling. Read more…

Local Hispanic Population Declines

Census 1Ian Duncan Luis Rivera and Maritza Lopez outside their Puerto Rican restaurant on Loisaida Avenue. For the first time in 30 years, the area east of Avenue B is less than half Hispanic.

The 2010 Census offers a portrait of an East Village that is more populous and less diverse. For the first time since the 1980’s, the area east of Avenue B is less than half Hispanic and the number of white residents in the area has surged.

The total population of the East Village now stands at 73,676, according to the figures, up 5.7 percent over the decade. White people now make up more than half of the population of the neighborhood, while Hispanics make up less than one quarter. The number of blacks in the neighborhood dipped by 5 percent.

East of Avenue B — the census splits records down that street — the trend is even more dramatic. The Hispanic population there fell by a little more than 10 percent, while the white population in that part of the neighborhood jumped almost 38 percent.

Claudio Remeseira, founder and director of the Hispanic New York Project at Columbia University, said the trend illustrates a number of changes taking place to the neighborhood, including gentrification, the upward mobility of some Puerto Ricans, and the decision of others to leave the city entirely.

“We are used to talking about poverty,” Mr. Remeseira added, “we tend to forget there is also upward mobility of Puerto Ricans and Domicans.”
Read more…

Loisaida Through The Lens

Marlis Momber, a German-born photographer, has documented the dramatic evolution of Loisaida, her home, for decades.

South of 14th Street and north of Houston, east of Avenue A to the East River, Loisaida is all but unknown to some late-coming East Villagers. Though time and gentrification have transformed the neighborhood, Loisaida’s streets still reflect its distinct culture and history.

Many of the murals that are a signature of Ms. Momber’s photographs have faded, but her body of work helps explain the Loisaida we see today.

During a walk through Loisaida, Ms. Momber describes a community that is more than a sign tacked onto Avenue C; Loisaida — a community, a culture, a past not forgotten.

NYU Journalism’s Molly O’Toole reports.