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The Day | Stream Joey Ramone’s New Album

EAST VILLAGE garden in rainRia Chung

Good morning, East Village.

To kick off your day, dig Joey Ramone’s new posthumous album, currently streaming on Rolling Stone’s site. Pyramid Club and Save the Robots, the legendary after-hours on Avenue B, get shoutouts in a song with the chorus “I’m proud to make my home in New York City.”

Speaking of gritty hangouts, Bowery Boogie has a look at Max Fish’s new Asbury Park outpost. Needless to say, the blog has an opinion about what’s more punk rock, skee ball or pool tables.

Commercial Observer reports that Edward Minskoff, who personally invested over $100 million in equity in his 51 Astor Place office building, is closing in on a deal with its first tenant: “Hult International Business School is in talks to take 51 Astor’s entire second floor, a roughly 55,000-square-foot space. Sources say the school could pay rents that begin in the $60s per square foot but escalate to around $100 per square foot over the life of a long term lease at the roughly 400,000-square-foot property.” Read more…

The Day | New Italian Spot on East Sixth

LitroSuzanne Rozdeba

Good morning, East Village.

According to a tipster, signage for an “Italian restaurant bar,” Litro, has gone up in the old Zerza space at 308 East Sixth Street. Stay tuned for more.

Paper reports that Max Fish is opening an outpost on the Asbury Park boardwalk. “Max Fish at the Beach Bar, located on the boardwalk, will be open weekends starting this Saturday through Memorial Day, and then open every day after that.”

In The Times, Winnie Varghese, the priest in charge of St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, argues that churches should be tax-exempt. “Moderate and progressive religion is overwhelmingly formed in the U.S., and it is an essential voice in national and international discourse,” she says. “We are an important moral and ethical voice for society as a whole, a voice that has to be religious to respond to other kinds of religious movements.” Read more…

The Three Lives of Lit Lounge

Lindsay Lohan at LitOlvier Zahm In 2009 Lindsay Lohan, looking somewhat stressed, showed up at Lit Lounge.

“The new Lit.” The expression has been used countless times to describe a club that might just be as cool as Lit when it opened a decade ago. Many of the venues that have vied for “new Lit” status have come and gone, but the original gallery/bar/club hybrid, improbably, is still going strong on Second Avenue. It’s still the best place to splash your beer all over the place while dancing to Britpop and punk at 3 a.m. It’s had its slumps, to be sure, but these days Lit is enjoying what can only be called a flare-up.

You might say Lit has had three lives. Its first golden age lasted for a few years after it opened in February of 2002. Then things slowed down around 2006 when the cool crowd moved on to the newly opened Beatrice Inn. But when that club was shut down in 2009, some of its DJs moved over to Lit, bringing a new generation with them.

The First Golden Age 2002-2004
Dave Murphy used to run around downtown and now, at the age of 36, owns Towne Deli in Summit, New Jersey. “Mondays were the big night in town,” he recalled. Lit was always the last stop after you made the scene at Max Fish, the Lower East Side’s perennial art bar, and Pianos, another cool newcomer.

Big Ups at Lit Lounge, New York, NYAdrian Fussell Big Ups performing at Lit Lounge last year.

“Bjork was at the Monday Pianos party one night, in some furry outfit, just sitting at the bar looking like a giant mouse,” said Mr. Murphy. “This was right after we’d seen somebody get shot in the foot outside Lotus. D.J. Clue laughed at the guy, who was bleeding from one foot and hopping on the other. That night ended in the cave at Lit.” Mr. Murphy recalled watching a member of a well known band from San Francisco snorting cocaine off of one of the couches in the cavern-like basement.

At the time, two local music scenes were converging and about to go national: dance pop and retro rock.

Electro-clash, a punk-techno hybrid that drew inspiration from Germany, was at its peak. Fischerspooner’s single “Emerge” was played at clubs as often as Rihanna’s “We Found Love” is today. James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem was DJing at Meatpacking District lounge APT, honing the DFA sound that sprung to life in 2003 with The Rapture’s ubiquitous single “House of Jealous Lovers.”

Lit was essential in helping this music find an audience. It was also one of the first clubs to embrace Euro DJs like Soulwax a.k.a. 2 Many DJs, and Erol Alken, who were inventing the mash-up, where the vocals of one song are played over the music of another song.
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Alain Levitt’s East Village

Alain Leavitt, BubblesLeigh LedareThanks for the help, Mr. Levitt.

He may have started out in Los Angeles, but musician Alain Levitt, one half of NYC synth-pop duo Bubbles, has called the East Village home for a solid decade. “The neighborhood has changed quite a bit,” he muses via e-mail in between recording sessions. “There’s good coffee now, some nice restaurants and lots and lots of college kids.” Having recently wrapped a “mini East Coast tour” with Gang Gang Dance, he’ll likely see more of those college kids when he hits the road again. For the moment, however, he found time to tell us about his favorite local hangs.

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Lower East Side Nightlife Crackdown Leads to Spike in Underage Drinking Busts

super subway angstRachel Citron The 7th Precinct has been targeting bar owners for serving drinks to minors.

The police crackdown on bars in the Lower East Side resulted in a dramatic increase in charges of underage drinking against business owners, data provided by the State Liquor Authority shows.

During a three-month stretch of intense enforcement early this year, the S.L.A., which acts on recommendations from the police, handed down 39 charges of underage drinking in the neighborhood, compared to 31 charges issued during all of 2009 and 2010.

UnderageBoozing009_080211Lauren Carol Smith View full graphic

Bar owners in the three zip codes that, taken together, include the East Village and Lower East Side faced 230 charges of serving minors from 2007 to 2011, resulting in $1,034,800 in fines. The data shows that large numbers of charges come during intense periods of enforcement, and bars in the Lower East Side in particular have faced an unprecedented and disproportionate amount of scrutiny this year.

Each offense results in fines of up to $10,000, and repeat offenders risk being shut down permanently. Some of the more high-profile watering holes caught in the dragnet include Mason Dixon (which eventually closed altogether) and Welcome to the Johnson’s.

The increase in enforcement came as the 7th Precinct resurrected its cabaret unit, which focuses on the Lower East Side’s booming nightlife scene, as well as the arrival of Capt. David Miller at the precinct last year. An officer with Community Affairs in the 7th Precinct would not comment on enforcement of sale of alcohol to minors.

In 2009, the East Village’s 9th Precinct disbanded its own cabaret unit, though at a recent community meeting Deputy Inspector Kenneth Lehr said underage drinking remained a priority.

Many bar owners say that they are being unfairly punished for an issue beyond their control.

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