Post tagged with


The Day | Bank to Replace Mars Bar

EAST VILLAGE view empty streetGloria Chung

Good morning, East Village.

In one of the more extreme transformations to hit the neighborhood, word comes that a branch of TD Bank will occupy the ground floor space of the 12-story apartment building under construction on Second Avenue at East 1st Street. An answer, at last, to the question: what could possibly replace Mars Bar?

Perhaps less jarring, the Lower East Side Ecology Center has laid out a proposal for a wetland at East River Park–which, after all, is very wet a lot of the time. The plan calls for fencing off part of the area already used for composting, and would use naturally filtered water generated by the composting process.

By the way, do you call 311 to complain about rats in the ‘hood? Hardly ever, according to this interactive map. I guess we just got used to them.

He’s Fighting Rats Down There So We Don’t Have to Fight Them in the Park

IMG_0009Stephen Rex Brown A Department of Health worker drops rat poison into the sewer.

The rats might be returning to Tompkins Square Park (depending on who you ask) but don’t think the city is waving the white flag. While walking the beat today we came upon two health department employees dropping poison into a sewer grate at East Seventh Street and Avenue A. One of them confirmed that the bait was meant to thin the hordes of rodents that last year became a media sensation.

Video: Rats Again Run Rampant at Former Guggenheim Lab Site

About a dozen sightings in a little over two and a half minutes.

Cue “Return of the Rat” – the furry fiends are back on First Street.

Last summer when the BMW Guggenheim Lab took over an empty lot between East First and Houston Streets, near Second Avenue, even the project’s detractors begrudgingly gave it credit for cleaning up a longstanding rat infestation. Well, guess what? The rats are back.

A friend who lives a couple doors over from the lot, which is now a park hosting public programming, brought the rodent resurgence to our attention. (She didn’t want to be named lest she gain a reputation on the block as, well, a rat.) “They’ve steadily become more of a presence and now it’s threatening to be what it used to be,” she said, adding that she has started walking in the street again to avoid the stretch of sidewalk on the southern side of First Street, near Second Avenue, where the whiskered interlopers frolic.

Sure enough, minutes after The Local set up to film the rats on a recent evening, they were seen zig-zagging across the sidewalk every 20 seconds or so, scampering from underneath a set of trash containers to a pile of garbage bags across the way. Passersby shrieked at the site of the voluminous vermin. Before long, we bumped into Emily Armstrong, co-author of The Local’s Nightclubbing column and a longtime resident of the Lower East Side. “They’re back!” she exclaimed as she walked her dog on the block. Read more…

Tompkins Parents Plot Advocacy

Missing person

The Tompkins Square Park and Playgrounds Parents’ Association (the group behind last summer’s uproar over the rats in Tompkins Square Park) is deciding how to address concerns such as “reduction of pigeon/rat feeding, sand box cleanliness and increasing the number of garbage cans on the Avenue A side of the park,” according to a Facebook post. Meanwhile, a tipster spotted a flyer in the park for a missing 16-year-old who “likes parks and street musicians,” according to the notice.

Butter Lane Ready to Serve Cupcakes Again

cupcakes, from butter laneAlexis Lamster

After a brief closure by the Department of Health, Butter Lane has once again fired up the ovens and is preparing to serve cupcakes. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health confirmed that the bakery was shut down yesterday for “extensive rodent infestation,” and that it passed a reopening inspection today. The Local just put in a call to Butter Lane, and an employee said that vanilla cupcakes should be ready by 2:30 p.m.

Video: Rats, And Then A Knockdown Fight In Tompkins

Justin Bagley Careful! There is some foul language in this video (originally picked up by Deadspin).

It’s two of the most common sights in Tompkins Square Park: rats and two guys ready to fight. Justin Bagley, who was on vacation from Milwaukee, was shooting a video on Monday of the scurrying rodents when he spotted two men nose-to-nose and ready to throw down. The brawl was over before it started: as you can see in the graphic video Mr. Bagley posted to YouTube, one swing led to a knockout.

“Totally random – it was crazy,” said Mr. Bagley, 28, who was back in Milwaukee today. “I was thinking, ‘Those are ratholes?’ Then, out of nowhere, all of a sudden the guy blasts him.” Read more…

With Hawks Grown, Rat Poison is Back in Tompkins

Tompkins Square Juvenile Red-Tailed HawkRobert Schmunk The Parks Department has begun placing rat poison in Tompkins Square Park, a measure it previously declined to use because of the presence of red- tailed hawks.

The city has unleashed a new weapon in the fight against the rodent menace in Tompkins Square Park.

After destroying rodent hideouts and deploying mint-scented trash bags, new garbage cans, and “Feed a pigeon, breed a rat” signage, this week the Parks Department began baiting the park with poison.

Previously, the Parks Department had said it did not use rat poison due to the danger it posed to the red-tailed hawks that dine on the critters. But now, new Parks Department policy allows the agency to use poison when hawks are not in the fledgling season, which is roughly from February to August. Read more…

The Day | Irene Approaches, And Charlie Parker Festival is Swept Away

Astor PlaceScott Lynch

According to DNAinfo and other sites, including’s slow-moving Office of Emergency Management page, parts of the East Village are among the “Zone A” areas most at risk should Hurricane Irene strike Manhattan: “In the East Village, Zone A extends to Avenue D from East 4th Street to East 8th Street. From there, it extends to Avenue B up to 14th Street.” If evacuations are called for, shelters opening at 4 pm on  Friday include Seward Park High School (350 Grand Street) and Baruch College (East 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue). Hurricane or no hurricane, the Tompkins Square Park leg of the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, on Sunday, has been canceled, according to a press release picked up by Brooklyn Vegan.

Both the Villager and EV Grieve have the latest on what the Parks Department is doing to fight the Tompkins Square Park rats. NY1 also ran a story, and shortly before 11 p.m. last night, The Local spotted “Inside Edition” filming a segment that a crewperson said would air in about two or three weeks. Neither More Nor Less has photos.

Amidst worries that the Free Willie Nelson has been parking in Park Slope lately, The Daily News profiles the iconic RV and its owner Ron Britt, who says he wanted the vehicle’s interior to feel “a little like a Texas whorehouse.” Read more…

The Day | East Village Teens Busted for Bridge Walking

Williamsburg FallsC Ceres Merry

Good morning, East Village.

The Daily News reports that three First Avenue teenagers were arrested for walking across a beam of the Williamsburg Bridge early Saturday morning.

According to The Post’s crime blotter, a man posing as a real estate agent showed off an East Third Street apartment and pocketed $3,575 from two victims who thought they had snagged the digs.

EV Grieve notices a sign indicating that an outpost of the organic hamburger chain BareBurger is coming to the former Sin Sin space.

In addition to the mint trash bags we told you about, a baiting station is now being used to fight the Tompkins Square Park rats, EV Grieve notices.

Read more…

A Minty Weapon To Combat The Tompkins Rats

The Truck of Mint-X Trash BagsTompkins Square Park Playground and Parents’ Association The truck carrying 5,000 mint-scented trash bags arrived at Parks Department offices in Lower Manhattan this morning.

A truckload of mint-scented trash bags have been donated to the Parks Department in the latest volley in the ongoing war against the rats of Tompkins Square Parks.

A spokesman for the Tompkins Square Park Playground and Parents’ Association, which secured the 5,000 minty bags, said that Mint-X recently made the offer to donate all the bags after seeing all the publicity the rats were attracting.

“If the rats don’t touch it, the Mint-X guy is looking at a big purchase from the city,” said the spokesman. “I’m hopeful that they’ll work.” He added that the bags should be in trash cans at Tompkins Square Park today. Read more…

The Day | The Man Behind ‘The Rats of Tompkins Square Park’

Funky KarateSusan Keyloun

WPIX interviews Aaron Goldblum, the Fordham Law student behind the “Rats of Tompkins Square Park” trailer, and gets still more footage of rodents chasing squirrels and pigeons. A resident says dogs are getting rat-borne illnesses at the park. Meanwhile EV Grieve notices some new “Feed a pigeon, Breed a rat” signs.

Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York musters an overview of “the battle for Astor Place— and how Cooper Union helped hatch the plan to turn Astor Place into a suburban office campus.”

EV Grieve points to a trove of photos of the neighborhood from the seventies and eighties taken by East Village resident Michael Sean Edwards.

What goes with a pair of John Varvatos Bowery Jeans? A Marc Jacobs Bowery Satchel, of course! Chicology loves it, and it’s only $1,195.

The Day | Tompkins Square Rats, Coming to a Theater Near You

Good morning, East Village.

A reader points out a movie trailer that puts a cinematic spin on the Tompkins Square Park rat infestation. Or is it an invasion? Watch the video above. Meanwhile, rats aren’t the only nuisances in the park. Neither More Nor Less has photos of a Friday afternoon arrest.

According to The Post, an appeals court has given Jerry Delakas, operator of the endangered Astor Place newsstand, until at least November.

The Times profiles Paul Marino, a manager at Hearth and half of the duo Popeye & Cloudy. They perform Shakespeare scenes and Abbot and Costello bits on the subway.

New York Magazine sits down with actor, director, and former St. Marks resident Vera Farmiga at her beloved Ukranian East Village Restaurant. “Farmiga mentions, without disapproval, that it smells like an old gymnasium.” Read more…

The Day | All Eyes on the Park

Tompkins Square ParkAdrian Fussell

Good morning, East Village.

Ratstravaganza is taking over! The seemingly massive rat population in Tompkins Square Park, which Neither More Nor Less has given an apocalyptic nickname, has hit all of the mainstream New York media outlets at this point. Photographers and reporters from The Post, Fox, WABC, and NY1. The takeaway from a handful of the reports was that the decision by the Parks Department to stop using rat poison in order to protect the local red-tailed hawks, coupled with parkgoers who litter, has led to the rise in our furry foes.

DNAinfo reports that popular mac-and-cheese eatery S’MAC will be opening a second locale at the hut on Houston Street and First Avenue this fall. The original store, which also has an attached sit-down area, is located on 12th Street and First Avenue. Their Ukrainian neighbor, Veselka, is also expanding and will be opening its second restaurant on First Street near Bowery in four to six weeks.

Jeremiah called in experts to talk about the removal of the longtime neon “Chow Mein” sign that used to hang on Second Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets. The sign originally came down on Monday as a construction crew is renewing the façade of the building that was Jade Mountain until 2007. Jeremiah goes on to worry about the safety of the Jade Mountain sign, since it is currently “popped up, like a body suddenly sitting upright in its coffin.”

While the historic significance of the neighborhood is well established, the new architectural gems that have been sprinkled in are the ones gaining attention from realtors. One relatively recent arrival, 40 Bond Street, located between Lafayette Street and Bowery, was named the seventh best building of the last decade. Luckily for those who are particularly flush, there are still units for sale- and one just lowered its price tag to $7.5 million.

More Rats in the Park? Thank the Hawk

tompkins hawk on her half-built nestCarol Vinzant A red-tailed hawk in its nest in Tompkins Square Park earlier this year. Officials said that they stopped placing rat poison in the park to protect birds of prey, which feed on the rodents.

Lately the hoards of rats scurrying all over Tompkins Square Park have disgusted local parents taking their children to the playground. Now, an ironic — and unwitting — culprit has emerged as the reason for the boom in rats: red-tailed hawks.

The Parks Department told The Local Monday that it stopped placing rat poison in the East Village’s green oasis in April because it could pose a danger to the feathered carnivores, which feed on the rodents.

“We are not placing rat poison in Tompkins Square because of the hawk,” said Philip Abramson, a spokesman for the Parks Department. “Instead we have replaced the garbage baskets with garbage drums, preventing rats from accessing its insides.”

The red-tailed hawk was first noticed this month on EV Grieve keeping vigil over the park, and occasionally feasting on a rat. Around the same time, a new parent group, Tompkins Square Park & Playgrounds Parents’ Association, sounded the alarm on the rats in The Villager, saying the critters were even burrowing in the sandbox.

As it turns out, the two occurrences are related. A poisoned rat can be a fatal feast for a hawk, especially a juvenile one.
Read more…

The Day | Pests at the Playground

Tompkins Square Park, Alphabet CityAdrian Fussell

Good morning, East Village.

Rats. Lots of rats. The playground in Tompkins Square Park has turned into a haven for these unwanted critters, The Villager reports. In response to this growing problem, a new group, the Tompkins Square Park & Playgrounds Parents’ Association, made up of 175 neighbors recently banded together to confront this issue. As did the red-tailed hawk, as seen in photos posted earlier this week by EV Grieve.

In less threatening news — depending on your outlook — the World Naked Bike Ride takes off this weekend. The Local’s Laura E. Lee previewed the ride, which aims to bring attention the vulnerabilities and dangers associated with cycling in the city.

The ride is Sunday, when temperatures are expected to drop into the 80’s. Today and Saturday, however, the peak of the heat wave hits with temperatures in excess of 100 degrees. As we have been reporting the last two days, the National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning, and cooling stations will be open today and Saturday. Find a cooling station here or by calling 311.

With the heat wave upon us, Con Ed is warning of potential scattered power outages, Gothamist reports. The power company recommends reducing energy consumption as much as possible, such as turning off air conditioners when away from home.

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

East Village Tweets


Would-be messages from the East Village, in 140 characters or less.

Welcome To The East Village: This is Your Demented Realtor Speaking

Here is your sofa. Studio prices are available on the
Web, or via consultation with your Personal Real Estate
Provider. Please &#8212 sit down

& be comfortable. That is garbage on the street, & you
might want to avoid that rat. Sadly, rentals are a bit high
right… Look, don’t frown,

we’ve got planeloads of Japanese heading this way very
keen to escape the recent ‘troubles,’ if you see what I
mean, you underfunded clown,

& we do need to impress upon them that this is NY, NY,
with lots of people just like them, that it’s dynamic,
diverse, & a helluva town.

(It’d be one thing if you were a minority, but you’re not
a minority, you’re not even drunk, so get off that sofa or
the cops come round)
Read more…

Boss Rat

ratpoison_0573aTim Milk

Just a few years ago, in the face of a widespread rodent infestation, a concerned citizen offered the suggestion that New York would do well to appoint a “Rat Czar.” City Hall firmly said no. The idea was, indeed, preposterous. Especially when you consider that the rats themselves had already filled that position.

The Rat Czar is, by all accounts, a shadowy figure, whereabouts unknown. My calls were not returned directly. But the Czar’s own Lieutenant of the East Village, a rat of great cunning, agreed to speak on condition of anonymity:

“I apologize for the security precautions,” he said as we sat down, “but you see, someone is trying to poison me.”

“Oh, how awful,” I exclaimed. “Any idea who’s behind it?”

“No,” he huffed. “It was but a single, cowardly act.”
Read more…