The Doughnut Plant Plans to Expand on Grand

The Doughnut Plant will expand into the former frame shop next door. Photo ©

The Doughnut Plant, the artisan sweet shop whose international reputation far outweighs the size of its tiny storefront at 379 Grand St., is acquiring some room to stretch.

The 11-year-old bakery and retail operation will take over the former frame shop at 377 Grand St. next door, which until a couple of weeks ago housed an old-fashioned photo and art store that also doubled as a shoe and watch repair shop. The news came tonight from Frank Durant, of Charles H. Greenthal and Co. Greenthal manages the commercial strip along Grand between Essex and Norfolk streets, which is owned by the neighboring Seward Park Cooperative.

Cafe Katja Employee Describes Orchard St. Drama

Pilgrim store front after robbery on June 14, 2011 - photo by

More on the dramatic scene that unfolded on Orchard Street earlier this evening.  A few minutes ago, The Lo-Down’s Jennifer Strom spoke with James Fry, who works at Cafe Katja across the street from Pilgrim, the clothing store that was robbed.

Shortly before 6 p.m. Fry said he heard the sound of shattering glass. He walked outside to investigate and saw Pilgrim co-owner Brian Bennett on the ground, tussling with one of the suspects. They were both covered in blood and glass fragments.

The Scene After Orchard Street Robbery

A look at the aftermath on Orchard Street following tonight’s robbery and foot-chase. (Click through for more photos.)

Breaking: Orchard Street Boutique, Pilgrim, Robbed (Updated)

The scene outside pilgrim on Tuesday evening after a robbery occured - photo by

A short time ago, Pilgrim, the boutique at 70 Orchard Street was robbed and an employee inside assaulted.  We’re on the scene and will have more details this evening.

UPDATE 7:08: P.M. – from The Lo-Down’s Jennifer Strom on the scene: A little over an hour ago, four suspects (three men and a woman) caused quite a scene on Orchard Street, between Broome and Grand.

According to witnesses at least some of the suspects went inside Pilgrim, a boutique at 70 Orchard, and allegedly stole a piece of jewelry. A scuffle followed between the suspects and the owners, Richard Ives and Brian Bennett. During the scuffle, a plate glass window was shattered and one of the suspects was pretty severely cut.

A chase ensued, with several people, including the chef at Cafe Katja running after the suspects. They tackled some of them in front of Congee Village on Allen Street. Also involved in the chase, the owner of another Orchard Street clothing store, The Cast. He had apparently kicked one or more of the suspects out of his store a short time earlier.

Three suspects are in custody; police are searching for a fourth. Ives and Bennett are hospitalized tonight. A canine unit was brought in to follow a trail of  blood in front on Zarin’s Fabric on Grand Street.

More to come…


Highwire Daredevil Comes Down to Earth at Abrons

Philippe Petit will perform in Wireless! at Abrons Arts Center June 16-18

The world famous French high-wire artist Philippe Petit, known for his daredevil trip between the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in 1974, will present his first theatrical one-man show, Wireless! A Work in Progress, at the Abrons Arts Center on Thursday.

Petit’s book, To Reach The Clouds (re-titled Man On Wire in paperback), which recounts one of the most astounding “artistic crimes” of all time, is the subject of the brilliant Academy Award-winning documentary film, Man On Wire.

Short Films and the Internet’s Most Famous Baby, on the Roof This Friday

Still from Johannes Nyholm's Youtube sensation, and now full-fledged short film, LAS PALMAS debuting at Rooftop Films this Friday

The independent summer film series from Rooftop Films continues on the Open Road Rooftop this Friday with a selection of short films from New York and Sweden (they are partnering with the Swedish Film Institute this summer).

One of the highlights of the evening will be the US premier of the short, Las Palmas, by Swedish animator Johannes Nyholm. The “trailer” was a Youtube sensation – viewed by over 9 million people – and features his one-year-old daughter portraying a middle-aged lady get a little “tipsy” on holiday.  The complete version was produced in part by the Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund and just screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Nyholm will be at the show in person for a Q&A after the film.

Sound Off on Select Bus Service Tomorrow Night

The city’s Select Bus Service has been operating for about eight months along 1st and 2nd Avenues. How do you think it’s going so far? Tomorrow night, officials from the Transportation Department will report to Community Board 3. Residents will also have a chance to offer feedback on the M15 high speed service. If you’d like to speak, it’s necessary to sign up before the meeting gets underway. That happens at 6:30 p.m. CB3’s transportation committee will meet at University Settlement’s Houston Street Center, 273 Bowery.

Silver Praises Passage of Ethics Legislation

Ethics reform legislation is on its way to Governor Cuomo’s desk, after winning overwhelming approval from both houses yesterday.

The bill requires legislators to disclose outside income and client lists. It also creates a watchdog board to oversee both the Legislative and Executive branches. Critics argue the legislation still allows numerous loopholes. Among them: a provision preventing the oversight panel from launching an investigation of a lawmaker unless at least two members from the same party and branch approve sign off.

Last night, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver released the following statement:

The Assembly today passed historic ethics reform legislation that will require more extensive financial disclosure and establish serious penalties for those who violate the law. I salute Governor Cuomo for his leadership and perseverance in forging this necessary and important agreement. Transparency and accountability are the pillars of good government, and today’s action will strengthen our citizens’ faith in their elected leaders and hold accountable those who betray the public trust.

Republicans Offer Rent Extender, Buddhist Nun Arrested, Bees Swarm on Mott Street

  • Facing a Wednesday deadline, Senate Republicans offer a short-term rent law extender (Daily News).
  • As the rent battle escalates, tenant advocates say Governor Cuomo has few opportunities left to “establish his credibility as a Democrat.” (Gotham Gazette)
  • Another Karl Fischer-designed condo building is planned for the Bowery (Observer).
  • A Buddhist nun is arrested on Canal Street for selling beads (DNA Info).
  • Bees swarm in Chinatown (NY1).
  • Feds say they need more authority to pull bad intercity bus operators off the road (AP/WSJ).
  • Once again the Chinatown Working Group can’t muster a quorum (Our Chinatown).
  • The Tao of 9 Second Avenue, a documentary film, offers a window into the neighborhood’s rich cultural past (Jeremiah).

Cafe Grumpy Opens Today

Finished Storefront

Image via Cafe Grumpy's Flickr photostream.

Looks like the Lower East Side can finally get Grumpy this morning.  Yesterday via Twitter, Cafe Grumpy signaled that they were ready for opening day at 13 Essex Street. A bakery supplying all of the coffee shop’s locations has been operating out of a space next door for several months (it’s not open to the public).  We offered a sneak peak of the cafe last month.

Good Morning!

Blue Escapes

Photo by Joel Raskin. Visit his web site at

We’re expecting showers today with a high of 64. The rain should continue into the evening, but taper off in the late night hours.