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East Village

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Bad Tourism Idea Moves South From Boston

Brooklyn Heights: The Heights Players are doing Gemini, sadly without Danny Aiello and Kathleen Turner. [Brooklyn Heights Blog] Dumbo: ModernTots furniture store is that latest example of family infestation. Is no part of Brooklyn safe? [Dumbo NYC] East Village: Liz Christy Garden, the city's oldest community plot, has reopened to the public with a new lush look. [Curbed] Park Slope: Don't worry, Blue Apron Foods will reopen in a couple of weeks as Grab. [Brooklyn Record] Red Hook: The Revere Sugar Plant might come down but not without a fight from the rats. [Gowanus Lounge] Times Square: Come spring, our tour buses will no longer feel inferior to Boston's duck boats. Thanks, New York Splash Tours! [NewYorkology] Williamsburg: Spelling bee tonight at Pete's Candy Store made more palatable by being a benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Barely. [NYCStories]

Ugly Buildings Are Attacking the City!

Brooklyn Heights: The mysterious sign maker who guided visitors to the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian walkway has outed herself. Thanks, Roslyn Beck. [Brooklyn Papers] East Village: When Jane Jacobs and New Urbanism collide, you get New Yorbanism and buildings like "Sculpture for Living" at Astor Place. [Horizoner via Polis] Gowanus: Once the Whole Foods opens, expect 1,000 people a day to show up at Third Avenue and 3rd Street. [Gowanus Lounge] Greenwood Heights: If you're a developer missing some permits, the Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights are gonna getcha. [Concerned Citizens of Greenwood Heights via Brownstoner] Harlem: Food from the meat truck on 132nd and Lenox may be a little too authentic for city dwellers, unless you want your apartment to smell like a barn. [Harlem Fur] Park Slope: The campaign begins to get writers–crime victims Doug and Barbara Rushkoff to stay in Brooklyn. [Steven Berlin Johnson via Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn]

Old East Villager Distressed By Starbucks Influx; Also, Sky Is Blue

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As lead-a-counterculture-icon-around-his-old- stomping-grounds pieces go, there's not much surprise in today's Times profile of Dog Soldiers author Robert Stone, whose memoir of the Beat Generation, Prime Green, drops on Tuesday. As the author trundles through the East Village, there's the fond memory of how back in the day you could give a bum a dime to watch your kid; the lament that newly cleaned buildings have ruined the neighborhood's "grimness"; and an odd story about how returning GIs, given their first slice of pizza, put scoops of ice cream on it because they thought it was pie. Still, the biggest watch-and-weep moment comes when the old soldier comes face-to-face with the Devil itself:
Heading toward Astor Place, he discovered that one of his favorite coffee shops had been turned into a Starbucks. Stopping for a light, he said, with less sadness than surprise: "I used to have such a tremendous sense of the city and of this neighborhood, and it's lost to me now."
Well, yes. We all know the Starbucks-is-taking-over feeling. But we'd suggest Stone dig deeper. After all, last time we checked, that Astor Place Starbucks had bathrooms grim enough for any old-timer. Plus, we hear they're doing a brisk business in Venti PizzaCremas. Counterculture Lion, Back in His Tidy Jungle [NYT]

Hello, Deli!

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Things we know about a potential new 2nd Avenue Deli, thanks to a report in today's New York Sun: • The Lebewohl family, which owned the deli, is about to close on a building in Murray Hill. • Jack Lebewohl, who owned the deli, will not run the new place. • Jack's son, Josh, applied for the liquor-license transfer. • The new location is not on Second Avenue. Things we don't know about a potential new 2nd Avenue Deli, thanks to a report in today's New York Sun: • Which Lebewohls, if any, will actually be running it. • When it might open. • What it might be called. • Whether it will be kosher. 2nd Avenue Deli Might Move Uptown on 3rd [NYS]

You Can't Always Gentrify What You Want

The Italian restaurant Sal Anthony's was an Irving Place institution for 40 years, until it closed last February. Its last supper came after owner Anthony Macagnone lost a five-year court battle with his landlords, allowing them to raise his rent some 500 percent. Unable to afford it, Macagnone closed up shop. And yet still a Sal Anthony's awning leads up to the restaurant's second-floor entrance. Why? Because after insisting in court that a fair-market rent would be much more than what Macagnone was paying, his landlords have been unable to get anyone to pay the new, higher rent. "I'm amused," Macagnone said recently, speaking at his Movement Salon on Third Avenue, which offers yoga and Pilates classes. (He also still runs two other restaurants, one in the East Village and one in Little Italy.) "I was paying $12,000 a month and they wanted $60,000. They had all these witnesses coming into court who said it was worth so much. It must have cost them a million dollars to get me out." The problem, Macagnone says, is the stairs in front of the building. It's a flight up to his old restaurant space and two steps down to a basement space he used as a catering hall, among other things. The stairs, he says, "are a bane to a retailer's existence. I wouldn't rent [the space] now if they gave it to me for free." Broker Adina Azarian, who is trying to rent the property, agreed that the stairs "have turned off" some prospective tenants. "But the second floor has great visibility and the staircase is dramatic," she says. "It has a beautiful view and the windows are great. It's up for grabs, and I'm sure the right person will come along." Indeed. But for what rent? —Mary Reinholz

East Village, Get Ready for ‘Pan-Asian/New American’

Anyone who remembers short-lived Secretes might have doubts as to whether high-minded global fusion can survive in the Tompkins Square Park vicinity. Nevertheless, last week Hong Kong–trained Kevin Chan, most recently of Cafe Lika and Yaffa Cafe, opened what's described as a Pan-Asian/New American joint in the space that was formerly Tenth Street Lounge. The menu is an international mélange of $20-and-under dishes (kalbi beef ribs in plum sauce, penne with Shanghai vegetables, roast duck, paella, eel avocado salad, etc.), hence the name: Kaleidoscope. In time there will also be colorful projections on the walls and — knock on wood — beer, Korean plum wine, and sake. —Daniel Maurer Kaleidoscope, 212 E. 10th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-420-8822.

Bloomberg Announces $150M Plan to Help Poor

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They say New York is just for the rich these days, but today one of its richest — Mike Bloomberg — unveiled a plan to help those who aren't. His Commission on Economic Opportunity unveiled its anti-poverty strategy, and, at a ceremony at the stalwart Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union, the mayor pledged a $150 million annual commitment to fund it, including $25 million to be raised from private foundations. That chunk of change will go first into an Innovation Fund, which will oversee the budget and — this is a first, folks — measure programs' success at actually alleviating poverty. There's also a new Office of Financial Empowerment, where the poor can make sure they're getting all the tax credits they're due (like a new childcare tax credit for parents of children under 3), learn about public benefits for which they might qualify, get basic financial-literacy help, and report scams they encounter, such as predatory lending schemes. But the heart of the effort will likely be at the new Center for Economic Opportunity, which will coordinate the programs between city agencies, from cash bonuses paid to the poor who make it to doctor's appointments to complicated "career ladder" programs trying to turn low-wage home health aides into middle-class nurses. One more good omen: Representative Charlie Rangel, who'll be chairing the influential Ways and Means Committee in the House, was standing proudly at Bloomberg's side — which suggests some federal help could be on the way, too. —Tracie McMillan

The Lease Versus the Liquor License

What happens when one guy holds a bar's lease and another its liquor license? You can find out at tonight's Community Board 2 business-committee meeting, when irate regulars from Milanos on Houston Street will protest a possible license transfer from longtime owner Denis Lynch to East Village bar magnate David McWaters, who owns the Library and Nice Guy Eddie's, among other establishments, and now has the lease for Milanos. McWaters says that he signed a new lease for the property about twelve months ago and that Lynch's lease expired on November 15 — which Lynch, who thought he had a verbal deal for a renewal, concedes. But Lynch won't give up the bar's liquor license. "One is no good without the other," he says. "The license is no good to me without a lease. The lease is no good to McWaters without the license. I'm not agreeing to no transfer of the licensing."

Scenes From the East Village: David Cross Edition

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Dramatis personae: Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, and a laughing, unsteadily walking David Cross. In front of Professor Thom's, Second Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets. Last night, approximately 1 a.m. ARNETT, POEHLER, and CROSS exit the bar, where apparently, Fred Armisen was hosting an open-bar birthday party. CROSS Oh, man, put another one in the bag! CROSS staggers across the sidewalk and directly into a news box. The news box falls over and hits the ground with a thunk. CROSS does likewise. CROSS slides across the top of the news box in slow motion, then lies splayed on the ground next to it. ARNETT and POEHLER stand alongside, laughing too hard to help. A minute passes. ARNETT composes himself to offer a hand to CROSS. CROSS, suddenly moving quickly, springs up as if on his fifth Red Bull. CROSS See ya! As quickly as he'd arisen, CROSS disappears into a cab. Exeunt.Jada Yuan

Have a Global Warmy Christmas in Prospect Park

Brooklyn Heights: A tree may grow here, but apparently grass doesn't. [Twofones via Brooklyn Heights Blog] East Village: Cooper Union students respond to impending demolition of the Hewitt building with apropos typeface. [RazorApple] Kensington: Don't be jealous of South Slope. There are plenty of permit-less contractors for everyone. [Brownstoner] Maspeth: It's not like you forgot about this neighborhood. You had no idea it existed. [Forgotten NY] Prospect Park: It's above 60 degrees today, so it must be time to turn on the Christmas lights at Grand Army Plaza. [Brooklyn Record] West Village: Expect the mother of all beg-a-thons when WNYC moves into new digs. [The Villager]

Park Slopers Denied Self-Righteous Place in American History

East Village: If real-estate agents can make up neighborhood names like BoCoCa, how about Manwood? [East Village Idiot] Park Slope: The Atlantic listed the 100 most influential Americans, and not one of them represented the Greater Park Slope Community. Outrageous. [Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn] Prospect Heights: Residents get antsy about the type of people who will move into Richard Meier's One Prospect Park Tower now that it's listed with Corcoran. [Daily Heights] Red Hook: People stuck in the past want to preserve Civil War history instead of letting Ikea pave a parking lot over it. [The Real Estate/NYO] Staten Island: Happy 42nd Birthday, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge! You make getting off this island so much easier. [Sunset Parker] Times Square: There are only a few shopping days left to taunt David Blaine. Hurry. [Gothamist]

A World of Wonder Outside Brooklyn

Carroll Gardens: Take your lactose intolerance to Giardini's. [Eating for Brooklyn] East Village: Unless you borrow shorts, the Russian & Turkish Baths aren't sketchy at all. [My Brooklyn Year] Park Slope: Everywhere else has rats, but the Slope gets raccoons. [Brooklynian via Brooklyn Record] Staten Island: Brooklynites do field-study research, report back to the rest of us. [Brooklyn Ramblings] Times Square: Will the stairway to TKTS heaven be finished in time to ditch our relatives there? [Curbed] Williamsburg: Condos at McCarren Park Mews are affordable if you don't mind the oily film. [Gowanus Lounge]

Mail, Dates Tough to Get in Brooklyn

East Village: Landlord sues tenants for not letting loud, dust-covered construction workers tromp through his apartment and build an overpriced penthouse. [amNY] • Fort Greene: We must all sacrifice imported dates in this time of war. [Brooklyn Record] • Hunts Point: Why go to Rikers when you can go to your neighborhood jail? [NYDN] • Ozone Park: Plan to make Aqueduct Racetrack even more depressing is deterred by the delay of video slot machines. [amNY] • Prospect Heights: The substitute mail carrier won't even ring once. [Brooklynian via Daily Heights] • Upper East Side: A New York City public high school gets its act together, so it must be time to relocate. [Gotham Gazette] • Upper East Side: Woody Allen doesn't have any problems with performances spaces; he'd just prefer that they not be in his neighborhood. [NYS]

Blockbuster Video Not Cool Enough for Carroll Gardens

Carroll Gardens: Indie nerds and porn lovers successfully close Blockbuster Video on Court Street. [Brooklyn Record] City Hall: At a Citywide Coalition for Traffic Relief rally this morning, those pushy walkers and bicyclers demanded fewer cars. [Streetsblog] Clinton Hill: Buy a little piece of Brooklyn and help bring the Broken Angel up to code. [Artez'n via Brooklyn Record] East Village: "Hot Dog" returns to Avenue A. This time she's almost sober. [Neither More Nor Less] Long Island City: All those new condo owners will need hospital beds. [NYP]

Williamsburg's Spawn Indoctrinated Early

Boerum Hill: For those keeping score at home, that's 583 car crashes on Atlantic Avenue between Flatbush Avenue and the river since January 2005. [Brooklyn Record] East Village: East Village blogger Jim returns from Scranton to find his neighbors filching his online style. [Neither More Nor Less] Prospect Heights: If a 95-year-old bakery can't get landmark status, none of us can. [Brooklyn Papers] Soho: Following the close of disreputable bar, the Falls, the space is reincarnated as an Indian restaurant. Better luck to Midnight Cafe II. [Villager] UWS: Metropolitan Montessori School saves energy by switching over to wind power. No word on whether this will make annual tuition dip to $20,000. [NAW via Metadish] Williamsburg: Beatles covers for your own little hipster-in-training. Yikes. [Willy Bees]

Stop!

Boerum Hill: City replaces stop signs with traffic light at one intersection, and neighbors aren't pleased. [Streets Blog] Boerum Hill: Who you gonna call? Well, don't bother with the police, if you live on a block stuck between two precincts. [NYDN] East Village and Lower East Side: Work continues on East River Park, with 6th Street running track reopened and overall project set for final completion in 2008. [Grand Street News] Fort Greene: There's a new church coming, but don't tell the local prostitutes. [Brownstoner] Harlem: There's some weird architecture — an old-school front porch, a very new-school modern thing — on East 128th Street townhouses. [Bagel in Harlem] Lower East Side: Proposed neighborhood-friendly LES rezoning may not be as neighborhood-friendly as it's cracked up to be. [LoHo 10002] Lower East Side: Thanks to construction-detritus pulverized Styrofoam, you can play in the snow even when it's 60-plus degrees out. [What About the Plastic Animals? via Curbed]

Bruce Ratner, Atlantic Yards Neighbors, All Set to Have Heart Attacks

Atlantic Yards: IRS set to make thing more expensive for Bruce Ratner. [Brooklyn Papers] Brownstone Brooklyn: In fancy-pants gentrified neighborhoods, people binge-drink more and die more often of heart disease. [Brooklyn Papers] Carroll Gardens: Is a biodiesel plant coming? [Carroll Gardens Courier] Downtown Brooklyn: Developer wants to "Botox" Fulton Street Mall, adding maybe a Cheesecake Factory and an Equinox. Existing shoppers ain't thrilled. [Brooklyn Record] East Village: Crappy scaffolding gets a scolding. [Neither More Nor Less] Flatlands: The Aviator Sports complex, opening soon at Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field, will be joined by high-end and highly caloric eateries like Junior's, Grimaldi's, and Jacques Torres. [Brooklyn Record] Fort Greene: Residents fight to save a big rock. [NYDN] Hell's Kitchen: Pier 76, behind the Javits Center, would be a good place for a recycling transfer station. But then what to do with the tow pound? [Villager] West Village: Locals still don't think enough is being done about the queer kids who hang out at the Christopher Street Pier. [Villager] Williamsburg: Northsix to close for renovations, plans are in the works for a new version of the club with a really lame name. [Brooklyn Record]

Condos and Beer (Which Could Well Be New York's New Motto)

Bed-Stuy: A new wave of Bed-Stuy condos go where no condos have gone before. (East, of course). [Brownstoner] Boerum Hill: Mmmm, beer: Cask Ale Festival kicks off at the Brazen Head on Atlantic Avenue. [Brooklyn Record] Soho: Bedbugs chase Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson from Greene Street. [NYP] Financial District: A 24-hour diner will invade Gold Street in January. As if bankers don't just order in, anyway. [MetroNY] East Village: "Loanshark Bob" Marion returns to Avenue A after years of absence. Hooray. [Neither More Nor Less]

Art Opening: Canvas Is the New Flesh

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It seems inevitable, really, that artistically underrated tattoo artists would eventually invade the downtown gallery scene — they're charged, after all, with not only the daunting task of flawless execution but also with achieving the sort of on-the-spot originality that will appease even the pickiest patron. And tomorrow night, it finally happens. That's when Fuse Gallery, on Second Avenue in the East Village, opens "Draw," an exhibition celebrating those who can do, well, just that. The show includes nearly 200 stunning, hand-scribbled doodles by some of the biggest names in the underground art world, including virtuosos from tattoo parlors, rock clubs, skate shops — and also including some Whitney Biennial alums and Deitch Project superstars.

Apartment-Hunting in GramEaVillionSquare

The patch of downtown Manhattan from East 14th Street to East 18th Street and between Irving Place and Second Avenue shape-shifts to suit the mood of brokers trying to sell their properties there. If they want to exude refinement, they call it Gramercy; others choose to glom on to the hipster vibe of the East Village or capitalize on the poised-for-luxury rep of Union Square. Whatever its nom de guerre, the nabe's worth a visit, both for the chance to troupe in and out of all sorts of buildings — the housing stock is diverse, including high-rises, low-slung tenement-style buildings, prewars, and townhouses — and for the hope of finding the perfect apartment. Fuel up at the Greenmarket at Union Square when your energy flags. Here are some spaces to check out.