Volume 81, Number 17 | September 22 - 28, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Photo by Jefferson Siegel
The Bean, just before the coffee plug was pulled.
UNCHAIN MY HEARTH:
Encroaching on the eastern edge of the East Village is — hold onto your rent-stabilized apartments — a boutique hotel, slated to go up on the northwest corner of 9th St. and Ave. A. The building was zoned for an SRO, but nobody did anything with it for years. But despite telephone calls to the realty company and contractor phone numbers posted on the wooden barrier at the construction site, who or what is yet unknown. The when is spring 2012. What is known is The Bean cafe will have ground floor space. The friendly hangout was just forced to close its doors at 49-1/2 First Ave. and E. 3rd St., another victim of landlord greed. According to manager Guy Puglia, they found out they were no longer welcome after ten happy years when a man with a plan walked into the cafe and asked him about the renovations for Starbucks. “I kicked him out. It was very tacky,” he said. The owner, Ike Escava, said the landlord gave them no interest in renewing their lease. “I assume they had already made their deal with Starbucks,” he said. The good-bye sign on the window says, “We are heartbroken but not broken.” Talk about a heartless break-up. The cafe is currently operating out of a truck, just south of their former location, in order to continue to serve their loyal customers while they prepare to move into 26 First Ave., corner of Second St.; they also have another location at 824 Broadway at E. 12th St. But not taking it lying down is Rev. Billy, the perennial thorn in Starbucks side. The pugilistic pastor, the Free Art Society and The Coalition to Save the East Village are organizing a street funeral in honor of the beloved East Village coffee shop on Mon., Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. in front of the shuttered establishment. The funeral will parade across the street to The Bean’s new location for a resurrection celebration. Free coffee will be served from 6 to 7 p.m. Wear your funereal best.
THE NEW 3 A.M. PANCAKE SPOT:
For those of us not originally from New York City, IHOP is a mainstay of fulsome and filling family fare. So it is no surprise that the all-American restaurant chain, famous for buttermilk pancake stacks and unlimited coffee, has finally discovered the appetites of the East Village. The restaurant, which started stacking on Tues., Sept. 20, is situated at 235 E. 14th St. between Second and Third Aves. “Business has been just right since we opened,” said manager Mike Carlos. A more official Grand Opening is being planned for the upcoming week, and several more locations will be piling up in Manhattan. Regarding the supposed off-duty cop that would fend off nocturnal drunks, Carlos said it was not true.
Veselka, our favorite food haunt, is opening a branch at 9 E. First St. between Second Ave. and the Bowery. The new location will have a more modern, refined version of traditional Ukranian food — and a full liquor service. Owners are shooting for a mid-October opening.
Ricky’s, the hair and beauty care shop, is primping on First Ave. between 6th and 7th Sts.
OR NOT COMINGS?
What would Scoopy be without a little buzz: Rumors have been swirling for some time that N.Y.U. is taking over the shuttered Strauss Auto Parts at 644 E. 14th St. at Ave. C. However, according to John Beckman, vice president for public affairs at the university, those rumors are unfounded. “Somehow whenever a vacant building pops up, rumors start that N.Y.U. is going to take it over. I believe it’s just grist for the rumor mill,” he said. We will follow these (non)developments.
LITTLE ITALY TO BELL TACO JOINT:
The Friends of Petrosino Sq., a Little Italy community group, is reportedly furious with the State Liquor Authority for ignoring its recommendation to deny reissuing an alcohol license to La Esquina, 106 Kenmare St. at Lafayette. As reported in the New York Post, the S.L.A. renewed the license for two years on June 1 without consulting with Community Board 2 as required by law. The trendy Mexican taqueria has been known to throw noisy parties for soccer games and football matches. The group is suing the regulatory agency for “turning a blind eye to complaints,” although the owner claims that they are “trying to be good neighbors,” according to the Post.