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At Landmarks Hearing, Outcry Against Hotel Adjacent Merchant’s House Museum

LPC Merchant's House MeetingSuzanne Rozdeba

Preservationists, politicians, and neighborhood residents asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday to nix, or at least limit the height of, a proposed hotel that they fear will damage the historic Merchant’s House Museum.

Speaking to about 70 people at a public hearing at One Centre Street, City Council member Rosie Mendez, who said she had allotted close to a million dollars for museum renovations, asked that the nine-story, 32-room hotel be scaled back to three and a half stories, to match the height of the neighboring museum. The commission must approve the application because the proposed site is within the NoHo Historic District Extension.

“In this city, when we have great buildings, and it tells something about our history, and our communities, we landmark them,” she said. “And the Merchant’s House Museum is one of those buildings.” The councilwoman asked for a protection plan that would require the developer to pay for any damage as well as for the expense of moving artifacts during construction. Supporters of the national landmark, built in 1832, believe that any construction could cause damage to its interior Greek Revival architecture and its Federal-style brick exterior.

Edward Carroll, the project’s controversial designer, argued that the Bowery was already home to buildings that were taller than the hotel proposed for East Fourth Street, and said it would have a “tri-part design” that would “put it in context with the loft buildings that are typical to the late 1800s and early 1900s in this particular neighborhood.” He also pointed to Great Jones Street, one block south. “There’s a lot of similarities to be seen, with the heights of 100 feet, 80 feet, interposed between each other on one block.” He said the façade would be made of a dark-grey steel and surrounded by a limestone frame. Read more…

Tomorrow: Fashion’s Night Out Takes the East Village

Fashion Week might cater to the magazine editors, power bloggers and models but Fashion’s Night Out is all about the hoi polloi. Tomorrow night, anyone can enjoy free drinks and nibbles as well as discounted merchandise while rubbing shoulders with designers. Of course the coolest events are happening in and around the East Village.


232 Elizabeth Street, (212) 431-4411
Aesop is collaborating with Wilder Quarterly, a publication for nature lovers, to create a sensory installation: plants and flowers will appear to be growing out of the walls to highlight the plant-derived ingredients in the antipodean skincare company’s products.



Barbara Feinman Millinery
66 East 7th Street, (212) 358-7092
Sneak a peek at the workshop where Barbara Feinman makes one-of-a-kind hats using traditional methods and materials. Enjoy champagne and cookies while browsing the new fall-winter collection and receive a free pair of sunglasses with purchase of a full-price hat. Read more…

Merchant’s House Hearing Postponed Again

Massing of Hotel

The much-delayed hearing regarding the proposed nine-story hotel next door to the Merchant’s House Museum is now set for Sept. 11. This is the fifth time the hearing has been postponed: Previously, it was scheduled for Sept. 4 after the developer of the hotel requested more time from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to prepare a presentation that will likely seek to allay the many concerns of museum supporters. Critics have said the hotel could threaten the foundation of the museum, and that its size would diminish the historic qualities of the 180-year-old building.

Merchant’s House Hearing Set for Sept. 4

Proposed Hotel

A critical hearing regarding the proposed nine-story hotel abutting the Merchant’s House Museum is scheduled for September 4, the museum just announced in an e-mail. Following the hearing, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will either give the green light for the controversial hotel, or send the developer back to the drawing board. Supporters of the museum consider the proposal dangerous because construction could undermine the structure of the 180-year-old building, as well as its aesthetic. Still, there’s no guarantee the hearing will take place on the scheduled date — it’s been postponed four times already. “Hopefully we don’t have a fifth postponement,” said Emily Wright, a museum spokeswoman. “We’re still of course very concerned, the potential for damage is very serious.”

Intermix Latest Upscale Business Bound for Bowery, But Where?

UntitledStephen Rex Brown 54 Bond Street.

Three’s a trend, right? A high-end clothing boutique, Intermix, is coming to the Bowery, joining Patagonia and Anthropologie and reinforcing the notion that the once notorious thoroughfare is thoroughly upscale.

A spokeswoman for the store catering to “trendsetters, A-Listers and glam fashionistas” confirmed the store was “slated to open on Bowery,” but wouldn’t say exactly where Intermix will join the mix.

Bowery Boogie reported that the store would open in 54 Bond Street, citing an anonymous tipster. But Billy Reid, which currently occupies the space, denied the rumor. In fact, an employee at the store said the owners “were really pissed” that it was reported before they were contacted. Read more…

Metsky Gets Go-Ahead on Great Jones


Curbed reports that the Landmarks Preservation Commission gave architect Richard Metsky the green light for a significant enlargement of 45 Great Jones Street yesterday. The approved plans call for two additional floors on the three-story building, as well as a penthouse recessed from the street. The building, which originally housed a lumber company, will have a commercial space on the ground floor.

Sandwich Smackdown: Mile End’s Smoked Meat vs. Katz’s Pastrami

We last called upon Kim Davis, the East Villager who writes At the Sign of the Pink Pig, to judge the new porchetta sandwich at Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria against the classic version at Porchetta. Now that another buzzy sandwich shop has opened in NoHo, we asked him to referee another meat match. Will the Canadian underdog, Mile End, prevail over the reigning champion, Katz’s?

Mile End (2)Kim Davis The smoked meat sandwich at Mile End.

The East Village, like it or not, may be gentrifying, but one might have been forgiven for thinking that some things would never change. The supremacy, for example, of the pastrami sandwich at Katz’s as an iconic New York dish, a plated symbol of deli history, and the one thing any visitor to the neighborhood has to eat.

Yet here comes Canadian Noah Bernamoff, with a trimmed down version of his modernist Brooklyn deli Mile End, opening on Bond Street just off the Bowery, no more than a ten-minute walk from the self-proclaimed “Best Deli in New York.” Read more…

Effort to Protect Merchant’s House Museum Gets Ratched Up

Proposed hotel and existing lotLandmarks Preservation Commission The garage at 27 East Fourth Street, and the proposed building.

Community Board 2 beefed up its efforts to protect the historic Merchant’s House Museum last night, resolving to disapprove of a plan to build a hotel next to the historic building unless the proposed structure is scaled back.

Earlier this week, the board’s Landmarks and Public Aesthetics Committee issued a recommendation that the nine-story hotel be “in scale with the adjacent Merchant’s House, not industrial buildings on Lafayette,” meaning the new hotel should only be four stories tall. But last night, members of the full board objected that the recommendation failed to explicitly demand that the hotel’s construction permit be denied unless its developers agreed to downsize.

Nick Nicholson, the chair of the board of directors of the Merchant’s House Museum, felt that, without such a rejection clause, the recommendation wasn’t forceful enough in voicing concern that the demolition of a one-story garage next to the Merchant’s House and the construction of the hotel might jeopardize the structural integrity and delicate plasterwork of the 19th century landmark. And members of the board agreed. Read more…

C.B. 2 Committee Votes Against Hotel Adjacent Merchant’s House Museum

Massing of HotelCourtesy of L.P.C. A rendering of the proposed hotel.

A Community Board 2 committee threw a wrench in plans for a nine-story hotel next-door to the Merchant’s House Museum last night in response to concerns that the development would endanger the historic landmark.

The plan, which calls for the demolition of an unremarkable one-story garage to be replaced by the hotel, was disapproved by the Landmarks and Public Aesthetics committee in a unanimous vote. As expected, the museum’s staff and supporters  – including Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, who has funded restoration of the museum – voiced their concerns about construction next to the only intact family home from the 19th century in the city.

“We have to treat this as if it were Notre Dame in Paris,” Nick Nicholson, the chairman of the board of directors for the museum, told The Local today. “Whoever develops the property, the first concern has to be the preservation and safety of this building.” Read more…

Encore at Organic Modernism, Design Fest in NoHo

Organic ModernismDaniel Maurer

Organic Modernism cleared out its store on Avenue A last month and announced it was closed, but now it’s stocked and selling again. Today, Inanc Uyar, a manager at the Williamsburg-based mini chain, told The Local that the store would be open for just another two weeks before calling it quits once and for all. In the meantime, furniture is 10 to 15 percent off.

OM’s initial closing followed the shuttering of three vintage furniture stores in NoHo, but for at least four days this month there will be no shortage of designers selling their wares in that neighborhood. The third annual NoHo Design District will feature over 100 local and international designers promoting their experimental art, furniture prototypes, “glass stalactites dripping off candelabras” and more beginning on May 18, according to a press release. Read more…

Mile End Is Now Open, Just Five Blocks From Katz’s

Photos: Lauren Carol Smith

Today, Noah Bernamoff and his wife Rae Cohen, the owners of Montreal-style deli Mile End, opened their first Manhattan venture – a sandwich-only storefront on Bond Street near Bowery. Don’t be surprised if it ends up luring fressers away from the lines at Katz’s.

The menu reprises many of the deli sandwiches (including the classic: smoked meat) that quickly gave the small restaurant instant golden-child status when it opened in Boerum Hill in 2010. There will also be hand-held twists on plated classics: instead of in a bowl, chicken liver will come loaded onto rolls with pickled eggs, duck jus and parsley salad. Read more…

Moby’s Moving Out


The Wall Street Journal reports that Moby is putting his 3,000-square-foot, loft-style penthouse at 7 Bond Street on the market for $6.5 million – $2.75 million more than what he paid for it in 2009. Why’s he unloading it? The real-estate-savvy musician, who has also owned a small condo on Mott Street, tells The Journal, “I moved to L.A and recognized the absurdity of having two apartments in New York City two blocks away from one another.”

Store to Close After Court Fight, and This Stately Chariot Could Be Yours

IMG_3223Stephen Rex Brown Ronald Bell, seated in a Swedish throne used in an opera, must close his 10-year-old business by April 20.

Ronald Bell is having a going out of business sale, but the feud with his landlord may not be going anywhere. Following a lengthy dispute over money owed to the co-op at 48 Great Jones Street, Mr. Bell is closing Art & Industry, his 10-year-old store packed with mid-century modern furniture, art and knick-knacks.

At the entrance is a Swedish throne with wheels, used in an opera, that’s marked down to $3,500. An old console like the ones used at Remote Lounge, the voyeuristic drinks den that used to be around the corner on Bowery, is a mere $500. A disco vision player (a precursor to Laserdiscs) is also $500. (See below for photos of the stuff on sale.) Mr. Bell said that merchandise he hasn’t been able to get rid of for 30 years is at last flying off the shelves thanks to the sale — even Jude Law dropped in on Thursday to check out the bargains. Read more…

Jewel Thieves Nabbed in NoHo

UntitledStephen Rex Brown

Three men robbed a jewelry store on the Bowery yesterday but only made it to Bond Street before being arrested. The heist went down at 11:30 a.m. at Raineri Jewelers near Hester Street when the three thieves — one of them armed — barged in and looted several displays, a police spokeswoman said. They fled in a waiting Jaguar but abandoned the ride at Bond Street and Broadway. They were found hiding in Great Jones Alley near Lafayette Street. The police arrested two 23-year-old men from Queens and a 26-year-old from Brooklyn. A fourth suspect is still at large. The Daily News has a photo of one of the suspects.

In NoHo, a Neighborhood Watchdog Forges a Team of Power Brokers

Screen shot 2012-03-23 at 5.13.50 PMRay Lemoine

She’s been called “NYC’s biggest killjoy,” and now she’s looming larger than ever. Last Tuesday at Community Board 2’s S.L.A. Licensing meeting, longtime activist Zella Jones publicly unveiled the NoHo-Bowery Stakeholders, a group of heavy-hitters that will act as a united front in helping to determine the course of the historic neighborhood – with Ms. Jones as President and Chief Operating Officer.

Two years in the works and modeled after similar organizations in Baltimore and San Francisco, the non-profit 501(4)c consists of 250 paying members, including residents of NoHo, local real estate and business owners, and non-profits such as the Merchant’s House Museum and La MaMa.

At Community Board 2 meetings, where Ms. Jones and her loose coalition of concerned neighbors were once the neighborhood’s scrappy watchdogs, they’ll now be part of what Ms. Jones likens to “A Team of Rivals,” Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book about President Lincoln’s cabinet.

“We have some really powerful people – some of whom traditionally have squared off against each other for a variety of reasons, from out-of-scale development to landmarking to nightlife proliferation – all involved for the benefit of NoHo,” she said, adding that the group’s members range from “purist” property owners who began their NoHo careers in artist-in-residence lofts to the more recent arrivals living in the sleek new properties on Bond Street. Read more…

Coen Brothers in NoHo Most of Next Week

Daniel Maurer

A few weeks after filming at Hopper House the Coen Brothers are back, and taking advantage of NoHo’s cobblestone for their 60s flick “Inside Llewyn Davis.” A flyer on Bond Street between Lafayette and Bowery indicates they’ll be shooting Tuesday through Friday of next week. Cars must be moved by Monday at 9 p.m.

Bond Street Renovation Gets Go-Ahead

A landmarked building on Bond Street will get two additional floors and major renovations to the entrance and backyard thanks to an approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Curbed reports that the plan comes after a previous proposal was rejected by the commission for being too out of context with its surroundings between Bowery and Lafayette Street. The building, which was built in 1890, fared better than a planned addition to the nearby Puck Building, which was rejected yet again by the commission yesterday.

Hip Designers Sell Their Digs

Ever wonder how the designers of stylish spots like The Breslin, The Dutch, and The Standard’s 18th floor bar outfit their own apartment? A listing posted on Curbed offers up the “famous” 25 East 4th Street loft belonging to Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, better known to interior design hounds as Roman and Williams. Two bedrooms (and the furniture!) can be yours for $3.5 million.