Michel Gondry Moves to Historic East Williamsburg BlockYou can find libido-enhancing maca in Jackson Heights, aspects of Frenchness in Boerum Hill and, speaking of French things, possibly filmmaker Michel Gondry in East Williamsburg. That and more in our head-choppingly wacky Bastille Day boroughs report.
Long Island City Gets a BreakdownNaked butts in Prospect Heights, Pope dreams in Mott Haven, and a touching tale of man and squirrel out of Prospect Park. What other fun-size borough bites await in our daily Neighborhood Watch?
Toxic Wind Blows From GowanusConstruction in Gowanus blows a fetid wind across the land, babies terrorize Upper East Siders, and Chelsea residents tear apart Barnes & Noble with their bare hands in our daily roundup of neighborhood news.
Inside an Apartment in the New PlazaNew York’s real-estate writer S. Jhoanna Robledo recently toured an apartment in the newly renovated Plaza, and our cameras went along. Once the crown jewel of New York hotels, the Plaza went condo in 2005, and its permanent residents enjoy all the amenities of hotel living. This two-bedroom rental is only $16,500 a month, and comes with a mosaic-tile bathroom and maid service. And if you want a drink, the Oak Bar is right downstairs.
Video: Inside the Plaza
Battery Pier: A Beautiful Disaster?Battery Park: Are we weird because all the decrepit buildings the city wants to renovate — like this pier with a Victorian clock tower — we think are beautiful just as they are? Yeah, we’re probably weird. [NYT via Curbed]
Greenpoint: It was difficult to visit friends yesterday at this crazy-ass apartment because “the buzzards” weren’t working. Well, it was a holiday, after all. [Newyorkshitty]
Harlem: The Rev. Al Sharpton said yesterday that if MLK were to walk through Harlem today, he might not like what he saw. You mean his dream didn’t include “the gentrification people”? [NYS]
Herman Behr Mansion on Sale for $12 MillionBedford-Stuyvesant: Councilman Al Vann, have you responded yet to those irate letters about that trash-strewn lot on Throop between Jefferson and Hancock? It sure looks pretty nasty. [Bed-Stuy Blog]
Brooklyn Heights: The Herman Behr Mansion on Pierrepont Street, which has housed a survivor of the Titanic, prostitutes, and Franciscans monks, is on sale for $12 million. [Brooklyn Eagle via McBrooklyn]
Greenpoint: Acid-tongued blogger Miss Heather can’t decide which she hates more: this Fedders-type eyesore on North Henry Street or the Brooklyn Paper. [Newyorkshitty]
Midtown East: Oh, no! This Sunday is the last day for Madison Avenue’s Dahesh Museum of Art, which features nineteenth- and twentieth-century European artists. Dahesh, we hardly knew ye. [NewYorkology]
Upper East Side: This area single gal is disgusted with new TV show Gossip Girl’s depiction of her hood … and wants today’s vapid girl teens to have more role models like Condi Rice. [Upper East Side Informer]
Williamsburg: It’s not fair that East River State Park closes so early that you have to watch the sunset through locked gates, is it? [I’m Not Sayin’, I’m Just Sayin’]
It’s Hard Out Here for a MascotBrooklyn Heights: Yet another Montague Street restaurant mascot has been vandalized … and it sure looks creepy lying on the ground. [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
Chelsea: Um: Cool air was being force-fed into the Episcopal seminary here during shooting of a new TV show about an immortal detective yesterday. Huh? [Blog Chelsea]
Clinton Hill: A former dry cleaner on Lafayette is accepting “proposal’s” [sic] for the space. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Flatbush: Doesn’t this post-rainstorm pic remind you of how Tara looked when Scarlett finally got there from Atlanta? [Living in Victorian Flatbush]
Harlem: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition hunk Ty Pennington will build a playground at P.S. 72 to help fight ADHD. Or something like that; we stopped paying attention. [HealthNewsDigest via Uptown Flavor]
Midtown East: Developer Sheldon Solow faces off against locals as he launches the approval process for a massive riverside residential-commercial project between 35th and 41st Streets. [NYS]
Williamsburg: When new buildings go up, taggers hit them fast to make sure they fit in with the graffitiscape. [Gowanus Lounge]
Explosion Damage Damages ‘Damage’ PartyHuman beings build mental models for things. You don’t really think about your commute into work; you just do it, the same as you do every day. This is why every now and then, when you walk to that same subway station to go someplace else, you get on that usual morning-commute train even though you mean to go the other way. Well, we have a model for party reporting, and last night we were set to cover the after-party for Glenn Close’s new FX drama, Damages, which we were told was at Cipriani’s. We assumed that meant Cipriani 42nd Street, so we left the office at the end of the day on autopilot. We saw some police barricades; we ignored them. We turned onto 42nd Street. There were a lot of bright lights. The street was blocked off. Wow, we thought, big premiere.
in other news
When Lexington Avenue Attacks!
If you’ve always wondered what it might look like if the mild-mannered street in front of you were suddenly to explode, and if you weren’t lucky enough to be near Grand Central the other day, we’ve got some good news. The Fire Department located a security camera on Lexington Avenue that caught the steam-pipe explosion. The main problem with security cameras, of course, is bad composition — so just be warned to keep your eye on the top of the frame. Also, the Fire Department has confirmed that the time stamp on the tape is wrong. So don’t get hung up on that.
Moments Before the Steam Pipe Explosion [YouTube]
Video Shows Steam Pipe Explosion [City Room/NYT]
Oddly, We Find Hazmat’d Cops Slightly Unnerving
“There is no reason to believe this is anything other than a failure of our infrastructure,” Mayor Mike insisted last night, attempting to calm any what-have- the-terrorists-done-now fears. Thing is: It’s hard to feel comfortable when cops are swarming the explosion site dressed like something out of Star Trek. With this afternoon’s announcement that no asbestos was found in the air, perhaps the police are losing the gas masks?
in other news
Grand Central Explosion Kills One, Wounds 30, Inconveniences Thousands
So it was a steam pipe that exploded last night near Grand Central, and the fallout from it includes one death (from a heart attack), more than 30 injuries (two critical), and, in the words of the Times, an “unnerved” Manhattan. “There is no reason to believe this is anything other than a failure of our infrastructure,” said Mayor Bloomberg. This is a surprisingly wan consolation: With infrastructure that allows for the occasional midtown geyser strong enough to rip pavement, flip a truck, and half-swallow a car, who needs terrorists? Witnesses described the epicenter, on 41st Street and Lexington Avenue, as looking strangely primordial, with flames flickering inside the rupture and boiling brown muck bubbling around its edges. There’s a YouTube video already, of course, and the inevitable idiotic comments. Bush did it! LOL!
it just happened
Explosion Near Grand Central Really Screws Up Commutes
Yes, there was indeed an explosion near Grand Central Terminal. No, it was not at Grand Central. Yes, there’s a lot of smoke. A transformer exploded on East 41st Street between Third and Lexington Avenues; it caused a four-alarm fire and injured one person. Police have closed that block and evacuated some buildings. The subways are running, including the Lex lines, though they’re currently skipping Grand Central, which must be a real pain for those who were trying to catch the 6:45 to Larchmont. We’re about to call it a day, but we have no doubt Sewell Chan will keep you abreast of the latest news all night long.
Buildings Evacuated After Midtown Explosion [City Room/NYT]
Update: The source of the explosion was a steam pipe, and as of 8:15 p.m. there is no service on the 4, 5, and 6 subway lines between 125th Street and Bowling Green, service on the 42nd Street shuttle has been suspended, and 7 trains bypass Grand Central.
MTA Service Alert [MTA.info]
Music and Passion Not Much Longer the Fashion: Copa to Close July 1
The famed — if these days sort of down-on-its-heels — Copacabana nightclub is set to close in its current 34th Street location on July 1. It’s been known for some months that the club will become a casualty of Hudson Yards redevelopment: A stop on the extended 7 line will go in its spot. But the actual closing date was first confirmed to us yesterday afternoon by a club publicist. The original Copa was on 60th Street; it relocated first to 57th Street and Eleventh Avenue, and it has been at its current location for the past five years. Some of the club’s current parties will move to Columbus 72, which is also owned by the Copa crew, but there’s no new location yet for the famous club. “Eminent domain,” grumbled the club’s publicist. —Tayt Harlin
Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big ShillingA flyer that recently turned up in the in-box:
It’s all you need to know about New York in the aughts: luxury condos (in east midtown!), Jay McInerney, and “his favorite summer wines.” We’d make a joke, but then, wouldn’t that be redundant?
What Will ‘Post’ Coverage Mean for Prospect Lefferts Gardens?Battery Park City: The DOT is removing stop signs on a five-block stretch along the river. Is that good or bad? [Streetsblog]
Coney Island: This summer, the beach cops will be on Segways. Cue the laugh track. [AP via Brooklyn Record]
Midtown East: “The Splendido” is the worst name for a condo. Ever. [City Realty via Curbed]
Midtown West: There are new advances in janitorial techniques to be found at Penn Station. [East Village Idiot]
Park Slope: Daily fuel fumes at 6 a.m. Anyone know the source? [Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn]
Prospect Lefferts Gardens: If the Post calls this the next “It” place, does that ensure it won’t be? [NYP via Son of Planet PLG]
Avant le Déluge
Looking north up Madison Avenue at 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon, avant le déluge. Ominous!
At New Location, J. Press Hopes for New Money
J. Press, the venerable clothier of generations of New York Wasps and their privileged offspring, moved from East 44th Street once the epicenter of conservative men’s fashion earlier this month, after nearly 50 years on the block. (Brooks Brothers, bless them, remains.) Just around the corner on Madison and 47th, a few changes at the new J. Press stand out. The old shop, like a Wasp wedding, was a little too big and a little too quiet. The clothes were immune to the vagaries of new fashion; you could always find a sport coat that went out of style sometime during the Carter administration and dress shirts with little button flaps over the chest pockets.
There’s Nothing Temporary About Twenty YearsBrooklyn Heights: At St. Francis College last night, they were hootin’ down plans to finance Brooklyn Bridge Park with luxury condos, restaurants, and office space on the 70-acre site. [MetroNY]
Harlem: You and poochie can make new friends this Saturday when you help move a big pile of wood chips at the soon-to-be-rehabbed St. Nicholas Park dog run. [Friends of St. Nicholas Park Blog via Harlem Fur]
Lower Manhattan: Plans for Santiago Calatrava’s much-hyped tower of “stackable” condo cubes for 80 South Street are reportedly “still alive.” [City Realty via Curbed]
Midtown East: For whatever reason, the Rite Aid in Grand Central is selling cereal for $1.79 a box. Even the kind that usually costs $6. Run, before the Cap’n Crunch is gone!. [This is What We Do Now]
Prospect Heights: Those “temporary” parking lots planned for Atlantic Yards already aren’t very popular. Could they actually last up to twenty years? [Brooklyn Speaks]
Soho: In a refreshing change of paint, uh, pace, the latest street-art defacing comes not from the hardworking Splasher, but from … Katsu! [Gothamist via Razor Apple]
Drug Business Picks Up in West ChelseaBrooklyn Heights: A restaurant owner accuses his former partner of anti-Semitism. Their restaurant was Kosher. Rim shot! [The Brooklyn Paper]
Hell’s Kitchen: Conjure your inner urban planner on Saturday afternoon by suggesting new designs for too-busy intersections. [Streetsblog]
Midtown East: Gotham Book Mart has gone fishing for good. Now it’s for sale. [Curbed]
West Chelsea: Call your dealer! Sol and Crobar will reopen this weekend. [Brooklyn Vegan]
Williamsburg: The four condo towers of “The Edge” will start construction in February. If you weren’t already sure it’s over, it is. [I’m Not Sayin, I’m Just Sayin via Gowanus Lounge]