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Pit Bull Still Alive, Had History of Attacks (Plus: New Video From Scene of Shooting)

Video of the aftermath of the shooting. Larissa Udovik, who was nearly bitten, can be seen berating the police.

For once, the police and crusties can agree on something. The pit bull shot yesterday on 14th Street in front of dozens of horrified onlookers had it coming.

Brandon Verna, a homeless man acquainted with the owner of the dog, identified by police as Lech Stankiewicz, said that the pit bull has a reputation for being overly protective of her master.

“Most of us figured out that when he’s passed out, whether he’s overdosing or not, leave him alone,” Mr. Verna said. “If he’s going to die, call an ambulance and have them deal with it because no one wants to get bitten.” Read more…

Police Officer Shoots Pitbull on 14th Street

A witness showed us a video he took of the shooting’s aftermath.
A dog kennel on the trunk of cop car.Melvin Felix Officers loaded a dog kennel into the trunk of a
police car as friends of the
owner of the dead pitbull looked on.

A police officer shot a pitbull that was apparently trying to defend its passed-out owner on 14th Street at around 4:15 p.m., horrifying passersby who watched the wounded mutt suffer a slow death.

A man who identified himself as Steve-o, who was lingering at the scene near Second Avenue said he was a friend of the passed-out man, known as Pollock. The dog, according to Steve-o, was named Star.

Another witness, Roland Bueler, said the dog was protecting his master as a police officer tried unsuccessfully to rouse him while an ambulance awaited. “People who live in the neighborhood say he’s along here all the time,” Mr. Bueler said of Pollock. “He had a dog that was, I think, a pitbull mix. And the dog was defending the guy so no one could approach him.” Read more…

Bad Blind Date Ends in Robbery

Suspected iPhone and Wallet thiefN.Y.P.D. The suspected thief.

As if blind dates aren’t awkward enough. A 20-something man stole a 50-year-old woman’s cell phone and wallet after going on a date with her in the Lower East Side on March 9, the police said.

The victim reportedly arranged a night out with the alleged thief — who may be named Hayden — over the internet. The pair parted ways at the Second Avenue station, and then the victim realized her items were missing. The police described the suspect with corn rows in his hair as roughly six-foot-one and around 165 pounds.

Earlier this week The Local’s crime blotter, “Police and Thieves,” reported two cases of victims taking their dates home for the night, only to be robbed in the morning.

Manhole Fire on Second Avenue

Stephen Rex Brown Firefighters blasting a manhole with a fire hose.

Firefighters were dousing a manhole with water at Second Avenue and Seventh Street this morning after it caught fire. A spokesman for the fire department said the first report of the blaze came in at 9:17 a.m., and that there were roughly 30 firefighters on the scene. Read more…

Shutters Down at a Food Pantry

Tim Milk

The Church of the Nativity has for many years serviced the less fortunate with their basement food pantry at 44 Second Avenue. Last week bilingual signs were posted advising locals that due to state and federal budget cuts, “The Food Pantry will be closed until further notice.”

Contrasts abound in the East Village. On one hand we see a fashionable epicenter with its glittering night life. But on the other one finds a place haunted by desperation. As families struggle to make ends meet, as unemployment takes its toll, as food prices rise, it is all the more regrettable to see a neighborhood food pantry shut for lack of funds.

It puts a very personal, poignant perspective on the rather circus-like proceedings in Washington over the debt ceiling. One has to wonder just how many food pantries must be closed in order to narrow State and Federal deficits.

Let us know what you think about the closure.

Little Luxuries at Jack’s

Jack'sLaura E. Lee Jack’s, 101 Second Ave.

Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar, at 101 Second Avenue, is in the East Village, but not of the East Village. Jack’s introduces itself with the false modesty of a neighborhood speakeasy: The plain white door bears no sign, and the chief adornment of the facade is the air conditioner’s ventilation unit. The word “Luxury” is a sly joke as it applies to décor; it is meant to be taken with deadly seriousness, however, when it comes to food.

Jack’s has the most refined cuisine in the East Village, save for Degustation, around the corner on East 5th and also owned by restauranteur Jack Lamb, and perhaps also David Chang’s several Momofuku restaurants. The format at Jack’s, as at Degustation, is small-scale plates, though Jack’s is surely one of the city’s few seafood tapas places. The combination of small plates and a small menu means that a party of four can eat practically everything Jack’s serves, though a sounder approach might be to order two or three each of five or so dishes.

My wife and I invited our friends Roberta and Jerry, who say proudly that they never eat out. Jack’s, consequently, blew their minds. The first dish to arrive was the roasted oysters, which are served in their shell on a bed of peppercorns in a tureen, thus creating the momentary illusion that you have much more to eat than in fact you do. The oysters are made with chorizo, setting up a glorious battle between plump brininess and sharp smokiness. But there was much more. “I just got a whiff of something,” Jerry said. “I think it’s some kind of cheese.” Read more…

The Yiddish Walk of Fame

VillageEast Cinema AuditoriumThe Village East Cinema auditorium.

On the corner of 10th Street and Second Avenue, the neon blue of the glass Chase Bank building beams among the many signs and street lights. Yet this particular site casts a stage-light glow on the now-oxidized, brassy stars embedded in the sidewalk, embossed with Jewish names.

This is the Yiddish Walk of Fame.

The placement of these stars is a reminder of a former culinary institution (some might say shrine) that once occupied this coveted address, the Second Avenue Deli. From 1954 to 2006 the restaurant was an East Village staple, founded, owned and operated by the locally beloved Abe Lebewohl. The park across the street was re-named for Mr. Lebewohl after his murder in 1996.

Although the Second Avenue Deli had to vacate its historic setting (it has since relocated to 33rd Street and Lexington Avenue in Murray Hill) it was originally centered among a unique and ubiquitous string of Yiddish theaters along Second Avenue: what Josh Lebewohl — nephew of Abe and co-owner of the deli with his brother Jeremy — calls, “The Jewish Broadway of its time.”
Read more…

Sunny Blossoms on Second Avenue

Sunny's FloristSun Ja Hwong runs Sunny’s Florist shop on 2nd Avenue and 6th Street. Her unassuming nature and beautiful flowers have kept her in business in the East Village for 23 years. Rachel Ohm

To people worn out by the din of honking taxis, the manic bustle of sidewalk life and the seemingly endless effort required this winter to negotiate snow drifts and slush puddles, Sunny’s Florist on Sixth Street and Second Avenue may appear to be a verdant oasis, and a signal of the approaching spring.

Pedestrians pause at the counter on Second Avenue, surrounded by a display of tulips, hyacinths and hydrangeas that crowds the corner of the sidewalk. Sun Ja Hwong, 55, the shop’s owner, stands in the narrow vestibule behind the counter, where there is just enough room for a space heater in the winter.

She cuts and arranges the flowers and wraps the bouquets in purple tissue paper. Behind her stretch rows of longer-stemmed flowers in white buckets – roses, chrysanthemums, calendulas and orchids. Most nights the shop casts its warm light on the street until midnight, a later hour than most florists keep.

“People pass by and think, ‘Am I in Paris?’” Ms. Hwong said recently. “’Am I in England? Am I in Tokyo?’”

Although she has never been to any of these places, Ms. Hwong says her arrangements reflect the styles of Tokyo and Paris, or at least what she imagines those styles to be.

The tiny shop was opened 23 years ago by Ms. Hwong’s first husband, who at one point owned seven florists in the city. She worked as a paralegal for ten years before taking over the East Village store, the only one still in existence.

Maybe that is partly due to its location, on one of the more trafficked blocks in the neighborhood. “The people here know the flowers,” she said. “When I make an arrangement they know how to appreciate it.”

Only when weather is bad is business slow. “I try to close at nine, but it is the busiest time,” she said. “At ten, at eleven it is still busy.”

Ms. Hwong said she sees herself as a “mother of flowers” and that when she closes the shop each night she feels like they are calling her name and asking her not to leave.

It would be impossible for this mother to have a favorite flower. She brings different blooms home every week to see how long arrangements will last after she gets the flowers shipped from Europe and South America.

Once, a customer who had seen Sunny’s Florist reviewed with five stars on Yelp, told Ms. Hwong her shop deserved six stars. Ms. Hwong, who was not familiar with the site, did not know that five stars is the highest possible rating. She wondered what she could do to obtain that elusive sixth star and asked her son.

He laughed. “You are so humble,” he said. “That is why your shop has five stars. Don’t change anything.”