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The Day | Shop Outside Saturday, Tour the Jewish Rialto Sunday

Out of ServiceSuzanne Rozdeba

Good morning, East Village.

DNA Info attended the historical plaque ceremony at Justus Schwab’s former saloon on East First Street. The Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation, along with Phil Hartman of Two Boots, plan to install similar plaques at least once a year, and Mr. Hartman is hoping to commemorate the former home of Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable at 19-25 St. Mark’s Place.

Speaking of Andy, The Times reviews “Jukebox Jackie,” based on the life of Warhol superstar Jackie Curtis. Charles Isherwood says that at times the new production at La MaMa “comes close to mimicking the foggy ramblings of someone on an intense trip,” but Justin Bond “most naturally embodies the Curtis who bloomed briefly before drug addiction felled him at the age of 38.”

The folks at the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative tell us that on Sunday at 1 p.m., theater historian Cezar Del Valle will lead a tour of the East Village’s Yiddish theater district, once known as the “Jewish Rialto.” As part of the tour, an architect involved in the restoration of Village East Cinema will talk about the theater that opened in 1926 as The Yiddish Art Theater. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on Sunday, and can be reserved hereRead more…

Second Avenue Shuffle: Vandaag Closes, Calliope Opens

vandaagStephen Rex Brown

First, the good news: Just a week after its paint job, Calliope has opened in the former Belcourt space. Grub Street has a look inside, and you can find the menu at Menupages.

Now, the bad. A couple blocks up on Second Avenue, Vandaag has become the latest ex-Villager. Thursday morning, The Local spotted a sign on the window of the darkened Dutch restaurant indicating that it was closed due to plumbing problems. Today, a new sign regretfully informs patrons of a “recent decision to close Vandaag.” The note concludes, “Fortunately, we were able to move most of our team to new digs, in Brooklyn,” meaning Woodland in Park Slope.

Vandaag opened in the former Bounce Deuce space at Second Avenue and Sixth Street and garnered two stars from The Times and then another favorable review from The Local (“Perhaps Vandaag, too, will disappear before long,” worried James Traub back in November of 2010. “I hope not; it’s the only Dutch-Danish restaurant in the neighborhood.”) Unfortunately, it was under-performing even before it lost its chef back in August.

Anyone know where to go now for a nice shot of aquavit?

Amid Lost Eateries, Savoring Vandaag

Vandaag exteriorGloria Chung Vandaag, 103 Second Avenue.

This past summer, I arranged to meet my friend Clemence at Belcourt, a restaurant on Second Avenue and Fourth Street. But the place was locked, with the chairs up on the table. Another one bites the dust, I thought. (Actually, I later learned, they had stopped serving lunch — the equivalent of dead for those of us who work, but do not live, in the East Village.) On my way down, though, I had walked past Vandaag, a restaurant which hadn’t existed the last time I had been on the block. So we ate there instead, and very happily.

The marketplace principle which the economist Joseph Schumpeter called “creative destruction” rules the restaurant world in New York City, and above all in the East Village, where low rental costs allow anyone with a half-baked idea to take a flyer. For the rambling diner, this means something new every week; but it also means hardening yourself to the loss of beloved haunts. Over the last few months, and just on the two blocks between Vandaag and my office at Second Avenue and St. Marks, the blindingly white Thai restaurant Rhong Tiam has disappeared, ditto an obliging falafel place; in their stead we have Vandaag and the Vietnamese Le Dan Ang — a net gain, I would say.
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