Volume 77 / Number 36 - Feb. 06 - 12, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Not tapped out

East Villagers mourning the loss of pair of classic neighborhood dives won’t have to give up those well-worn barstools just yet.

Mixed Use has learned that Alphabet City fixtures Sophie’s and Mona’s will remain operating as is, after brothers Bob and Rich Corton struck a deal for the saloons to stay in the family.

Bob confirmed that Rich would be taking over operations at Sophie’s, at 507 E. Fifth St. near Avenue A, and that Rich would continue running Mona’s, at 224 Avenue B near 14th St. Bob had put both bars up for sale in December.

“It’s a done deal,” said Bob, who had to leave the business for health reasons.

This news comes after The Villager ran an article last month about the impending sale of Sophie’s and Mona’s, open since 1986 and 1989, respectively. Bob Corton gave his brother the chance to match other offers on both spaces, and Rich was able to make an acceptable bid last week to take over ownership with another partner.

True fans of the venerable watering holes can also get a taste of Sophie’s history by picking up a copy of former bartender Ali Smith’s short art book about the space, “Sophie’s Bar,” published in 1993, selections and a photo from which appeared in The Villager’s recent article.

Smith has gone on to publish a book of photography featuring powerful women of celebrity called “Laws of the Bandit Queens.” Patrons can get their hands on her more beer-soaked creation — featuring characters like Degenerate John and Eddie Boros — for $7 at the bar.


Big Bowery scuttlebutt

What’s that coming to the Bowery? Some whispering among neighbors in the area has yielded rumors of another new behemoth on the traditionally low-rise stretch.

A tipster informs Mixed Use that a trusted source got wind a possible 16-story structure could soon land on the avenue at 180 Bowery, between Spring and Kenmare Sts.

The source also got mitts on a crudely designed rendering from someone with knowledge of the current building, showing a supposedly “really huge and tall and bulky” structure, noting it could be a hotel project. The tipster added the print looked like a bad fax, and that it features only a rough outline resembling some type of massive development. The structure could stretch the entire block, according to the source, but a query to the Department of Buildings shows multiple owners for the roughly half-dozen buildings fronting that portion of the Bowery.

D.O.B. spokesperson Carly Sullivan said no plans for the property had been submitted to the department as of Tuesday, but the rumor alone is putting fear into the hearts of Bowery activists.


Pool party foul?

Some fishy work is taking place in the backyard of 109 Waverly Pl. in the Village, reports a neighbor who has to weather the repercussions of ongoing construction at the site.

According to Mixed Use informant and local activist Doris Diether, who lives next door to the property in question, a pool is being built in the backyard even though a permit for construction purports the project constitutes an “interior renovation.”

Diether said crews dug under the brownstone building’s front near the address’s steps as part of installation, which seems to contradict that just interior work was taking place. The Department of Buildings paid a visit to the site to investigate, she added. Meanwhile, a tarp was placed over the rear construction area to deter Diether from snooping any further. But with the recent high winds, the tarp flapped and knocked over a pair of planters in her own backyard, even striking her home’s back windows.

According to D.O.B.’s Web site, a complaint received by the agency stated that a 10-foot hole had been dug in the backyard. An attempt to inspect the hole was foiled because the inspectors couldn’t gain access.

After a recent lull in activity, Diether noted, work on the project had resumed as of Monday. Maybe Mixed Use will have an answer come summertime if Diether finds her neighbors tanning poolside? Somehow, we don’t think Doris will be down for a dip.


Into the Box

Mixed Use has found a kindred spirit in Into The Box TV, a new online video log featuring segments on all things New York real estate.

The informative daily video journal follows host and founder Rachel Natalie Klein as she travels the city for juicy bits of real estate news, from the Village and Tribeca to the Bowery.

The site (www.intothebox.tv) adds a dash of edge to its few-minute-long segments, which blend an entertaining style with the hard, block-by-block facts that might otherwise appear dry to the casual viewer. (For instance, a recent segment on the Bowery offered a gratuitous flash of cleavage for, apparently, cleavage’s sake.)

While Klein’s spunky reporting style excels at making the topics a bit more palatable to the uninitiated, she also tackles compelling-enough stories to satisfy real estate heavyweights. (In a report last month, she called out two developments on Laight St. in Tribeca, including jabs for poor spelling on a high-end development’s Web site.)

“People need to and want to understand real estate here in New York City,” Klein told Mixed Use, citing the large and oftentimes uninformed renters community. “I don’t want this to be an advertisement for the rich and famous in New York City.”

Klein also claims to be a fan of Community Media, so maybe she will look into integrating some mixed-media Mixed Use in the future? Stay tuned.

mixeduse@communitymediallc.com


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