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With Sauce, East Village Restaurateur Frank Prisinzano Heads a Lil’ South

New Restaurant SpaceMeghan Keneally The new restaurant will be at 78-84 Rivington Street, located on the corner of Rivington and Allen Streets.

The owner of Frank, Supper, and Lil’ Frankies, along with a business partner, are opening a new Italian restaurant called Sauce on the corner of Allen and Rivington Streets in early October. In addition to a dining room, the space will feature a grocery section as well as a demonstration kitchen that will host cooking lessons.

Last year, Frank Prisinzano, who runs three restaurants in the East Village, and Rob DeFlorio applied to open a fourth restaurant on Second Street and Avenue A. Citing the high number of restaurants in the area and the noise levels, the community board resolved not to support their application for a liquor license.

“They were right,” Mr. DeFlorio said about the decision. “We got excited because the place was two doors down [from Supper] and it was available. We jumped the gun.”

Upon going back to the drawing board and finding the space on Rivington, they were approved for a beer and wine license from the board immediately. The new restaurant, set to open on October 4, will be the first of Mr. Prisinzano’s ventures to cross below Houston Street. Read more…

Business Gains Slim from Gay Marriage

New York City Gay Pride Parade 2011, Greenwich Village, New York City - 4Vivienne GucwaSupporters of same-sex marriage during a parade last month. An anticipated spike in business for wedding planners, florists and others because of the new law has so far failed to materialize.

The legalization of same-sex marriage in New York meant many things to many people. It meant freedom to marry for lesbian and gay couples who had been waiting to do so in their home state. It meant a landmark civil rights victory for New York legislators. And to many in the wedding industry, it meant cash.

But they may have seen the dollar signs a bit too soon.

There were 659 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples who wed on Sunday, the first day that the law was put into effect, but those numbers have not led to a bump in profits.

Wedding planner Jeannie Uyanik, executive director of C&G Weddings, thought that the expectations of business owners were overblown from the outset, making the lackluster increases seem even more disappointing.

“Even before the law was enacted, there were people who were going to get married no matter what. It didn’t matter if they had to go to Canada or Amsterdam or Massachusetts: where there’s a will there’s always been a way,” Mrs. Uyanik said. “This in and of itself is not going to change the wedding industry. There’s going to be that small blip — probably of just a year — but at that point its really going to normalize.”
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Aspiring Politicos Vie for County Seats

Natasha DillonMeghan Keneally. Natasha Dillon.

It hasn’t exactly been a banner year for New York politicians: the names Weiner and Kruger have recently been added to the list of elected officials who are associated with scandal.

But the roster of players on the state’s political scene is constantly replenishing, and this summer, a handful of aspiring East Village pols are among 90 Manhattanites running for positions at one of the lowest levels of the state’s political hierarchy, the New York County Democratic Committee.

You could be forgiven if you hadn’t heard of the county committee before — its workings are one of the more arcane aspects of state politics. County committees meet roughly once a year and one of their most significant roles is to step in during times of unexpected transition to choose nominees for special elections, such as the Sept. 13 contest to fill Mr. Weiner’s seat.

Natasha Dillon, 26, is one of local candidates running for a seat on the committee. Ms. Dillon has a growing familiarity with the city’s political scene — she recently became a member of Community Board 3 and has long been an activist in the gay and lesbian community — but she wasn’t completely aware of the role of the county committee.

“I know they have some sort of say in nominations of Democratic candidates of special elections, like the Queens County Committee is meeting about Weiner,” she said one recent afternoon before she headed out to petition for the required signatures in order to get her name on the ballot. “It’s a very small commitment.”
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Board Opposes Plaza for 51 Astor

Astor PlaceMeghan Keneally Thomas Balsley at Monday’s meeting.

Members of Community Board 3 voted unanimously Monday night to oppose plans for an outdoor plaza at the new 51 Astor Place because of questions about whether the design provides enough space for the public and fits aesthetically with the surrounding neighborhood.

The board’s Planning and Land Use committee said that it will not endorse the plaza project unless changes are made that take into account the historic nature of the area around 51 Astor and other design issues, including the placement of benches.

Work is set to begin in the next few days, and the construction of the mixed-use commercial tower is set to last for 17 months.

After listening to a presentation by Thomas Balsley, the designer in charge of planning the outdoor space that will accompany the new building on Astor Place, members of the public were given a chance to address the board.

Speakers, many of whom were opposed to the design, raised a range of issues about the project from its look and aesthetics to what some said was its failure to account for the historic nature of the district.

“It’s like it’s from some other city,” said Marilyn Appleberg, who was a part of the group that discussed the initial plans for the building when they were approved in 2002. “I was really disappointed.”

A final discussion on the plaza project will occur at the full community board meeting on July 26.

Assembling Art, Page by Page

Assembly LineMeghan Keneally The ‘assembly’ portion of the magazine is literal.

Nearly two dozen people walked past the “For Sale” sign and closed gate of a townhouse on Third Street on Sunday, invited themselves in the unlocked door, and made their way up to the second floor with folders of their work in tow.

When they walked in, it was like a mini reunion of yesteryear’s East Village art world: everyone knew each other, liked each other’s work, and swapped stories about peers of old.

And then they got to work publishing a magazine.

They were all there to put together the 34th issue of “What Happens Next,” an assembly magazine made up of poems, collages and drawings. The event, and the 33 issues prior, have been organized by Eve Packer who started it “just to have a forum” for the work of she and her friends, and anyone else who wanted to jump in.

The magazine is made up of individual work provided by the participants, with each bringing 100 copies of their pieces. The assembly aspect of the magazine is very literal: everyone lines their stack up and they start passing it along, with one person at the end taking charge with a stapler.
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A Record Label Finds a Retro Niche

Plapinger and Davies, Neon GoldCourtesy of Lizzy Plapinger Lizzy Plapinger and Derek Davies.

Instead of trying to break into the music industry with new technology, one record company is looking back to the technology of the past to introduce new acts.

Lizzy Plapinger and Derek Davies started producing limited edition 7-inch vinyl singles for new and emerging bands through their record label, Neon Gold. Since starting in August 2008, when the now-23 year olds were only juniors in college, they have been credited for much of the early success of a number of indie bands and recently partnered with Columbia Records.

Ms. Plapinger and Mr. Davies are childhood friends, having spent summers together at camp in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. When summers came to a close, they returned to school in London and Washington, D.C. respectively but kept in touch about new music.

“It was always a pipe dream,” Ms. Plapinger said of their early talks about starting a record label together.

Though they had both held internships in the music industry and searched for new talent out of habit, they decided to start their specialized company in 2008 even though they were in the middle of college.

“We couldn’t really let this opportunity pass us by,” Mr. Davies said.
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