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The Day | Picking up the Pieces

The bestScott Lynch

Good morning, East Village.

It’s perhaps not the best of mornings, with thoughts of yesterday’s Sandy Hook memorial service fresh in our minds. Mayor Bloomberg spoke on national television yesterday about gun control. Also on the safety front, he was accused yesterday of developing a stealth plan to ban smoking in people’s homes, a claim the city staunchly denies.

As for SantaCon, we might have picked up the pieces, but we’re still tweeting about it.

And out with the old, in with the new: with bistro Lina Frey already a distant memory, the Lobster Joint finally opened on East Houston.

The Day | Targeting Stolen Bikes

Bicycles on 6th Street, East VillageAdrian Fussell

Good morning, East Village.

The Times reported that the police conducted an undercover sting operation in the East Village trying to find people who would purchase stolen bikes. The sting targeted bike messengers, specifically mentioning those at S’MAC on 12th Street and Haveli on Second Avenue. Gothamist said that the sting, which lead to three arrests, should be called “Operation Bark Up The Wrong Tree.” Sting operations are not uncommon, and the Department of Consumer Affairs is currently recruiting public participants to help them catch supermarkets who are overlooking basic requirements.

The most publicized bar in the neighborhood — Mars Bar — is set to be demolished next month. The owner, Hank Penza, and his associates are taking bricks from the walls and the cinderblocks from the exterior wall to use in his rumored new bar.

While Jeremiah continues to lament the loss of the “Chow Mein” sign, Off The Grid has a really lovely post on the oft-overlooked fire escapes that greatly impact our urban landscape. In addition to taking a serious look back at the history and need for fire escapes at the turn of the century, the post also includes pictures of some of the more artistic instances of such “iron in the sky.”

Even though the rats in Tompkins Square Park may be over-publicized at the moment, the issue is still alive and well in the East Village. Rat traps were spotted by an EV Grieve reader outside of the new BMW Guggenheim lab which is set to open next Wednesday. The public’s distaste for rats is so evident that it has lent the sentiment to a new reality series: The Animal Planet is going to air a six-part reality series called “Rat Busters NYC” which focuses around two managers of an extermination company that “tackle rat families bigger than their own, and other metropolitan pests like roaches, mice, bedbugs, raccoons and pigeons.”

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.

The Day | Open Doors

Sushi, Avenue A, Alphabet CityAdrian Fussell

Good morning, East Village.

In your daily round up of the food scene, Upstate had a soft opening on First Avenue near Sixth Street, debuting with a better name than one that had been initially proposed: “Marry The Ketchup.” And Sidewalk, the bar and restaurant on Avenue A and Sixth Street, is still on schedule for its proposed reopening
Aug. 5.

After news spread that more than 50 New York City Post Offices would be closed because of budget cuts, the tiny post office on Third Street near Avenue C seemed a likely target. EV Grieve confirmed otherwise this morning.

Seeing how two areas of the East Village were recommended for landmark status Tuesday night by the Community Board, a number of blogs were looking back at the older institutions in the area. Off The Grid had a lovely look back at All Saint’s Ukrainian Church on 11th Street near Fourth Avenue, with pictures dating back to 1928. Jeremiah noted that Moishe’s Bake Shop on Seventh Street and Second Avenue was getting “a facelift,” which makes him nervous about what, if any, changes would be made to the nearly 100-year-old facade.

Finally, Grieve waxes poetic about the loss of the mural on the wall that formerly belonged to Russo’s on 11th Street and First Avenue.

The Day | New Signs, New Storefronts

house painterMichelle Rick

Good morning, East Village.

It was a big day for the visual landscape of the East Village. EV Grieve takes us on a tour of the area, showcasing the new signs on the Thai food restaurant BaoHaus, soon to open on 14th Street between Second and Third Avenues, and smoothie maker Xoom, due to open on Thursday on the same stretch of 14th Street. One sign that came down overnight was the famed Chow Mein sign that used to light up Second Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets, even though the restaurant it belonged too — Jade Mountain — closed in 2007. And finally, the last of the bunch comes in the form of a “closed” sign on Company Bar and Grill, located on 10th Street near First Avenue, as the Department of Health temporarily closed it for lacking the proper permits.

Jeremiah also took a minute to reflect on the area’s changing signage, looking back at the seedy history of the new IHOP on 14th Street between Second and Third Avenues.

BaoHaus and Xoom are only two of a handful of restaurants due to open on 14th Street. Plans for a new location of 5 Napkin Burger and The Meatball Shop on the block have been well publicized, prompting 14th Street to be known as a “foodie haven”, if it weren’t already.

The future of signage and construction in the East Village will come to a vote tonight as the Community Board meets to consider whether part of the neighborhood should be designated as a historic district. The issue has divided residents, with some seeing it as an opportunity to retain the East Village of old, while others are concerned about what the designation might mean for maintenance costs and their ability to make changes to their properties. The City Room blog at The Times examined some lesser-known historic districts only to find that they had little to show for the title.

The Day | Wedding Bells

Same Sex Couples Marry in NYSusan Keyloun

Good morning, East Village.

In light of the first day of legalized same-sex marriage in New York, Manhattan was seemingly covered in rainbow confetti on Sunday, and the East Village was no exception. Community board member Dominic Pisciotta and his longtime partner were one of the hundreds of couples to wed throughout the city yesterday. One hotspot was Trinity Church, where Pastor Phil Trzynka said he will be marrying same sex couples for free all year. Congratulations to all.

Tompkins Square Park had quite a collection of inhabitants this weekend, as it played host to both the Fifth Annual New Village Music Festival and an inordinate amount of rats. The photos, taken by Bob Arihood at Neither More Nor Less, back up claims made by The Villager that rats are on the rise in the park.

Several new gin joints and grub spots are being whispered about in the area, with Prime & Beyond New York bringing some steak to St. Mark’s last week. For the more health conscious, Mikey’s Pet Shop on Seventh Street near Avenue A will be turning into an organic health food store in near future. When it comes to libations, EV Grieve says that rumors are rampant about a supposed new bar that Mars Bar owner Hank Penza is planning to open in the neighborhood. Lastly, progress is being shown on construction of the Hyatt Hotel in Union Square, which will feature “an upscale restaurant, destination lobby bar, an exclusive rooftop lounge” and much more when it opens in fall 2012.

Jeremiah takes us on a trip up the stairs and down memory lane back to the somewhat seedy past of Movie Star News. The longtime store that is currently found on West 18th Street was once at home in the East Village, where movie stars and movie star wannabes went to have pin up photos taken.

The Day | Staying in the Shade

Tompkins Square Park, Alphabet CityAdrian Fussell

Good morning, East Village.

Prepare for another hot one today, as an excessive heat warning and air quality alert are in effect today for the entire city. Cooling centers will be open through Saturday, and you can find one here or by calling 311.

In other neighborhood news, a truck used by the firefighters of Ladder Company 3 on 9/11 returned to the former site of the World Trade Center. Twelve firefighters from the company lost their lives when the North Tower collapsed. In a ceremony Wednesday, firefighters were honored as their truck was lowered into the 9/11 Memorial and Museum where it will remain permanently.

Back in the East Village, the lot at 417 East 12th Street is about to get a major facelift. EV Grieve is reporting that Montreal-based architect Karl Fischer, designer of multiple luxury towers along the Bowery, is designing a six-story, 11-unit residence.

In other building news, it’s moving day on 11-17 Second Avenue. Today, the final two tenants of the “Mars Bar” building will officially leave when John Vaccaro and Joe’s Locksmith close the doors behind them for one last time.

And tonight, “Star Trek” will be playing in Tompkins Square Park as part of the Epix free movie series. The Local is told that Gilbert Gottfried will be on hand to introduce the show.

The Day | Mars Bar, 1984-2011

Mars Bar Sidewalk 1984-2011Joshua Davis

Good morning, East Village.

The neighborhood is still abuzz at the sudden closure of Mars Bar late Monday evening. EV Grieve broke the story just before 4:30 p.m, followed by confirmations from the Department of Health about the closure. The Local has a report on last night’s vigil with reactions from the neighborhood. Check back later for a closer look inside Mars Bar though the eyes of some regulars, as well as a presentation of photos of the bar throughout the years.

In news not involving Mars Bar, The Local’s Meghan Keneally reports that Banjo Jim’s is one step closer to to being sold to a new ownership group led by Robert Ceraso. The State Liquor Authority Committee of Community Board 3 endorsed the transfer of the liquor license Monday night, the last bit of work left before the sale.

If the deep fried Kool-Aid wasn’t enough for you, EV Grieve points out that Jane’s Sweet Buns, a bakery selling pastries “inspired by cocktails,” opens today at 2 p.m. They are located on St. Marks Place in the former home of the De La Vega Museum.

The Daily News reported that an East Village street merchant, who sells hand-made gothic clothing and accessories, was beaten on the subway on his way home early Monday morning. The assault happened on the 4 train and, though racial slurs were exchanged, police have not labeled this a hate crime. WPIX has a video interview with the victim.

Finally, The Local would like to congratulate Asghar Ghahraman, a.k.a. Ray Alvarez of Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A, for becoming a U.S. citizen, as reported in the Villager. This egg-cream’s for you, Ray.

The Day | Film and Food

At the moviesScott Lynch

Good morning, East Village.

Last night, fans of the Harry Potter series flocked to the premiere of the final movie while moviegoers in the East Village enjoyed the free showing of “The Warriors” in Tompkins Square Park.

This weekend is the last chance for diners to enjoy Counter, a vegetarian bistro on First Avenue, which will close on Sunday, Gothamist reports. The space will be occupied by a second site of Empellon, a Mexican restaurant in the West Village, according to Gothamist.

But there are still plenty of dining options in the East Village and the cheapest choices are highlighted in the just-released Cheap Eats list by New York Magazine. Nearsay gives the local rundown here.

The photo above comes from Scott Lynch, a contributor to The Local’s Flickr group. Check back this afternoon for an expanded photo layout by Mr. Lynch.

And just in case you missed it, The Local’s Joshua Davis offered a video highlight of the work of Paul and Monica Shay, East Village community activists who were shot in Pennsylvania on July 2.

The Day | Storms and Rainbows

RainbowMichael Natale
Stoplight DownMichael Natale

Good morning, East Village.

Or rather bonjour. Today is Bastille Day and Nearsay offers suggestions for places to dine on French food to commemorate the storming of the Bastille, including the East Village’s Flea Market Cafe. Other East Village venues share in the festivities through French Restaurant Week.

Last night’s brief but intense storm knocked down a light pole and temporary traffic light, EV Grieve reported. Community contributor Michael Natale shared an image of the downed pole, the smaller photo above, with The Local’s Flickr group. But when the rain lifted, onlookers were treated to a stunning rainbow stretched across the sky. Mr. Natale’s image of the rainbow is at top. Bowery Boogie has more pictures of the scene here.

The storm brought cooler temperatures just in time for tonight’s outdoor showing of “The Warriors,” a 1979 action film on New York gangs. The film is part of the Epix free movie series in Tompkins Square Park.

The Day | Trying to Stay Cool

Sarah Roosevelt ParkAdrian Fussell

Good morning, East Village.

And welcome to the hottest day of the week. City cooling centers are open today in the East Village. Avoid the heat at the Ottendorfer library, Sirovech Senior Center, John Paul II Friendship Center or Tompkins Square library. Search for other locations here.

The heat added to the authenticity of the New Orleans-style second line march last night in remembrance of Ray Deter. We’ll have a full report on the tribute to Mr. Deter later today.

Proponents of a new art and restaurant space at 200 Avenue A, the former site of Superdive,  will present their application for a liquor license to the State Liquor Authority at 11 this morning, EV Grieve reported. The request follows the refusals of Community Board 3 to lend their support to the application.

The 9/11 memorial ticket reservation system went live yesterday and Gothamist reported the site received tremendous traffic in the first few hours.  The memorial at the World Trade site will initially open on Sept. 11 — the 10-year anniversary of the tragedy — but only to family members of victims. Members of the public can obtain free, timed-entry passes through the online system for visits beginning Sept. 12, but tickets are already sold out for Sept. 12, 13, and the following weekend. A limited number of passes will be distributed in-person each day as well.

The Day | Changing Storefronts

red gate/wallMichelle Rick

Good morning, East Village.

Dreading another 4 a.m. hotspot full of rowdy, liquored-up party-goers, 16 East Villagers spoke out against a proposed music performance space at 34 Avenue A during last night’s Community Board 3 State Liquor Authority committee hearing. Another 11 locals said they support the venue, adding that it could help revive the East Village arts scene. The board will decide the fate of the space later this month. In case you missed it, The Local’s Laura E. Lee had more on the meeting earlier today. And The Lo-Down is on the story, too.

Other signs of neighborhood change have also left long-time residents feeling disgruntled. Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York blog reports that a new real estate agency has finally inhabited the 113 East 12th Street, former home to Footlight Records. And the Manhattan retail news site Paper & String recently Tweeted that, after a 10-year run, Elaine Arsenault will close her handmade handbag store at 305 East Ninth Street.

But there’s hope yet that some change has carried the neighborhood’s creative legacy into the digital age. The Next Web says thatFoursquare, a location-based startup conceived at an East Village kitchen table, has now reached 10 million users. According to The Post, Bianca Caampued and Mallory Blair — founders of the party-planning and marketing company Small Girls, Big Business who also met in the East Village — have already garnered tens of thousands of followers via Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

The Day | The Rent Debate Continues

bench for threeMichelle Rick
_DSC9304Lindsay Wengler

Good morning, East Village.

As we told you last week, East Villagers will have their final chance today starting at 10 a.m. at The Great Hall at Cooper Union to address the Rent Guidelines Board before board members vote on increasing rent citywide. Renters will band together after the hearing at 4 p.m. to march in a rally for fair rents.

In other news, EV Grieve shared photos of a Mars Bar mural via local blogger Melanie Neichin. We’ve posted an image of the mural by community contributor Lindsay Wengler, the smaller image above and right. Grieve wonders if this will be the last mural to adorn the walls of the iconic bar before it closes in August. Crain’s business reported last week that the tenants living above Mars Bar tenants will only be charged $10 for rent – that is, after the building is demolished and rebuilt, which will take an estimated two years to complete.

While the days might be numbered for Mars Bar, Off the Grid posted pictures of other well-known East Village buildings over the weekend, including  the Umbrella House at 21-23 Avenue C, between East Second and Third Streets, showing a colorful array of umbrellas poking out of windows and fire escapes.

The Day | Businesses in Transition

backpacking in New YorkMichelle Rick

Good morning, East Village.

Some new names and familiar faces will be added to the menu of restaurants in the East Village soon, with the eventual opening of Tre Scalini restaurant on St. Marks Place. Vegan restaurant Quintessence is due to reopen today after being shut for a health code violation on Wednesday. And finally, a neighborhood jokester plays on the gentrification fears of many in the neighborhood with a mock sign advertising just what everyone has been waiting for: a faux Chase bank and Starbucks location replacing Café Centosette on 10th Street and Second Avenue.

While the crusties may not have returned to Tompkins Square Park, the pianos have! The charity Sing for Hope, which benefits artists throughout the city, has retuned to the city this summer and plans to place 88 pianos around for public use (a jump from last years 60 pianos). One of the 88 was spotted in Tompkins Square Park, but will not be officially unveiled until tomorrow.

Continuing the park’s cinematic tradition, free movies will be shown every Thursday night this summer, starting in two weeks time with “Raging Bull.” The event will be sponsored by a number of neighborhood bars, Two Boots Pizza and Epix films.

Though the Marriage Equality Bill continues negotiations, Lady Gaga has turned into the ringleader of support, both inside and outside of the State Senate offices. The popstar was quoted in the State Assembly when they were debating the bill (which they eventually passed) and at the New York City Council’s Gay Pride event last night. She’s done her part as well, urging her little monsters to call undecided state senators.

People are getting excited about the rumor of a floating summer pool in the East River. Even though it is being heavily hinted at by developers, this isn’t the first time that the crowds began to talk, so who knows whether it will come to fruition or not.

This post has been changed to clarify an item; the note about the opening of a new Chase-Starbucks location has been modified to reflect that it is a hoax.

The Day | Recreation and Rent Laws

tow zoneMichelle Rick

Good morning, East Village.

Those who rise early to exercise can now add an extra drop of motivation to their morning protein shake as the ‘Summer in the Square’ fitness program kicks off today and continues through the summer. Every Thursday morning, starting at 7 a.m., running groups, yoga lessons and boot camp sessions will be held in Union Square. Events will also be held for children, including mommy and me yoga.

When one door opens, another begins to close: EV Grieve noted a new barber shop that opened on Avenue A between 13th and 14th Streets. Nearby, Exquisite DVD on 14th Street between Second and Third Avenues has signage hinting that they might be moving out. The storefront is apparently up for rent, which, if it leaves, will add to the list of movie rental stores that have left the East Village in recent weeks.

In spite of numerous rallies and protests, the city’s rent regulation laws expired last night. State Democrats continually called for not merely an extension of existing laws, but stronger laws all together. Neither option prevailed when legislators failed to come to an agreement.

The State Assembly passed the Gay Marriage bill yesterday, 80-63. This was actually the fourth time that the Assembly passed the bill, and surprisingly this had the smallest margin of the four. That being said, all attention is now on the Senate, who are expected to bring the issue to a vote either today or tomorrow, though it is up to Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos when it occurs. So far, 31 of the 32 senators needed to pass the bill have publicly declared their intentions to vote in favor.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg took to the microphone to push for one of his biggest pet peeves: immigration reform. At a meeting of New York’s Council on Foreign Relations, Bloomberg said that he wants to create programs allowing foreign entrepreneurs and permanent status for foreign students in top industries, along with an increase in guest-worker visas and legal guest labor visas. He later took to his Twitter to continue to the push to “honor the values that made America great, and we must embrace the new realities of the 21st century economy.”

The Day | On the Park’s Denizens

EAST VILLAGE tompkins sq park15Gloria Chung

Good morning, East Village.

Some East Village institutions may be closing down, but now people are starting to notice the complete disappearance of others: The Times reports that the traveling wanderers, known to locals as ‘crusties,’ who typically take up residence in Tompkins Square Park in the summer, have yet to be seen. One local blogger attributes the lack of crusties to the amount of summonses that they received last year.

As we told you yesterday, a group of East Villagers were among those who gathered in Albany to fight for the continuation of rent control laws. After a good deal of back-and-forth in the state Senate, the rent control laws have been extended into 2019, though without some provisions that advocates hoped will safeguard housing for some of the neediest groups.

The questioned continuation of the M15 Select Bus Service along First and Second Avenues will be the hot topic at tonight’s Community Board 3 meeting. The $60 million service was launched in October and one city councilmember expressed disapproval of the ticket machines.

A surprise six-month sweep of restaurants by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene resulted in tickets for 704 restaurants that were not properly displaying their hygiene letter grade placards. Restaurants that do not display their grades in a “clearly visible place” can be stuck with a $1,000 tab.

DNAinfo did a review of the city’s bike lanes and the East Village came up as an area with very few blockages by cars. Police cars were cited as some of the most common offenders.

The Day | Scaffolding Up

131Michelle Rick

Good morning, East Village.

In the wake of the news about the closure of Mars Bar, Jeremiah took to his blog to remember a neighboring landmark that’s due to be destroyed. The building at 7-9 Second Avenue (between Houston and First Streets) was a cultural center starting in the 1950’s and was once home to the German Anarchist movement. The construction of a 12-story apartment building will change the landscape of the area come August.

Further up Second Avenue, on the corner of 12th Street, the empty lot that used to be Ruby Lounge is due to become a residential property. An application has been filed with the Department of Buildings and the project is due to begin Friday.

Yesterday’s opening of the East River Ferry meant little to residents of our neighborhood as the route completely bypasses the East Village. The ferry picks up at a dock on 34th Street and proceeds to cross the river to Long Island City, then has a number of stops in Brooklyn before heading back to Manhattan and making a final stop at Wall Street.

The Day | Comings and Goings

Phillip Kalantzis Cope

Good morning, East Village.

The big headlines of the weekend were all about the stores and buildings that are coming and going in our neighborhood. Famed Second Avenue dive bar, Mars Bar, is being torn down in August to make way for a 12-story luxury apartment complex — a sign many see as the destruction of the East Village of Yester Year. Adding fuel to the gossip fire, Joe’s Locksmith, located next to Mars Bar, announced that they will be closing on June 30, leaving residents wondering what else will be leaving the corner of First Street and Second Avenue.

After wandering aimlessly with no where to call home, those in search of the late night pancake can soon take a seat at IHOP. An EV Grieve reader was the first to notice the new signage on 14th Street between Second and Third Avenues. While it is unknown as to when the restaurant will open, it is expected to be one of many to come to Manhattan, making the clear connection between New York’s international appeal and the international culinary experience that is the International House of Pancakes.

NYC Icy also found a semi-permanent home, for the summer at least, in front of Badburger on Avenue A near 11th Street. Badburger’s owner said that the iced delicacy will be found there until at least October and then he will incorporate it into the dessert menu afterwards.

The former funeral home on Second Avenue between Ninth and 10th Streets is in the market for a facelift, or complete gut job: an application has been placed to allow for substantial changes to the building, including a possible expansion adding three floors on top of the existing three-story building. While the building does not have landmark status, some hope that it will be granted before the permit application is actually granted. The building, originally constructed in 1937, once was home to Gramercy Park Memorial Chapel, which was where Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were memorialized.

The police are looking for a man suspected of robbing three Chase bank locations since May, including one on Broadway near 13th Street. The man reportedly gets the cash by passing notes to tellers, but this plan only allowed him to end up with cash in two of the three instances.

The Day | Howl Was It For You?

Howl Festival 2011, East Village, New York City - 36Vivienne Gucwa

Good morning, East Village.

Don’t worry if you missed the Howl! Festival over the weekend; neighborhood bloggers have enough coverage for you to re-live the event virtually. The Local’s Flickr pool members were on the case. Melanie of Melanie Musings was a seemingly unstoppable photographic force, so check in with her and start scrolling down. EV Grieve has a few choice shots here and here. Gamma Blog has some video clips, too. DNA Info also has a round up.

On Friday, EV Grieve noted an epidemic of mattresses left out on the curb (and possibly coined a collective noun in the process). Some of his commenters mused that it was probably because of June leases being up, but others worried about a new bed bug outbreak.

DNA Info has an update on the errant bee colony that decided a Little Italy mailbox would make a good home. The 7,000-odd drones have been integrated with another swarm from Washington Heights at a hive in Queens. Beekeeper Elie Miodownik said the bees are at work, despite their own queen being seized by the NYPD. Her whereabouts are unknown at this time.

Looking ahead, it’s Internet Week. Techies will gather in New York to discuss the future for the series of tubes. Most of the fun is happening over in the heart of Silicon Alley –- the area north of Union Square — but the Post has news that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is throwing a party in honor of East Village start up Foursquare. The paper reports that the Mayor has become close with Dennis Crowley, the site’s 26-year-old founder.

The Day | A Bar Gets A Facelift

Lottery StopTim Schreier

Good morning, East Village.

DNAinfo reports that the former location of the Sin Sin Lounge, known for its rowdy atmosphere and late-night drunken brawls that culminated in a fatal shooting last summer, is planning to re-open as an upscale bakery. Yes, it will still serve drinks. But the ownership appears to be going to great lengths to demonstrate that the location wants to change its reputation. The new bakery will feature flakey pastries and swanky upstairs dine-in seating. It even had that old prison tattoo of a name blotted over and tentatively replaced with “Sweet Boutique.”

Last week, we brought you a post in which some of the founding members of P.S. 122 shared their memories of the performance space’s early years. An article by the BBC describes the space’s role in the fight against AIDS. The BBC details the history of the red ribbon, from its origin as a reaction to global indifference concerning the HIV outbreak, to its rise as a universally recognized emblem of support – much of which began at P.S. 122.

On Wednesday, we described the neighborhood-wide reflections about the 20th anniversary of the 1991 Memorial Day riot at Tompkins Square Park. The Times checks in with an assessment of how the riot was a turning point for our community.

And finally, the Howl! Festival will begin today with a reading of its namesake poem in Tompkins Square Park at 5 this evening. A number of poets will lend their voices to reading, including Miguel Algarín, who we mentioned on the blog  yesterday. It’s a small world among poets: Hettie Jones once said she could fit the entire beat generation into her living room. Ask her, she’ll be there.