The Fallout from 135 Bowery: Skepticism About Community Agreement, Preservation Architect Resigns

135 Bowery.

Here’s a followup on the battle for 135 Bowery, the 194 year old federal house that was stripped of its landmark status by the City Council last week.

First American International Bank plans to demolish the 3-story structure, which won protection from the Landmarks Preservation Commission this past summer.  District 1 City Councilmember Margaret Chin supported landmarking last year but changed her mind after the bank explained its plan to create affordable office space in a new building on the site.

SPURA Environmental Review Hearings To Be Held October 11th

In the next month, the Seward Park redevelopment project (SPURA) enters an important new phase. On October 11th, the city is holding two “public scoping” meetings, a chance for Lower East Side residents to weigh in on the sweeping environmental review that will soon get underway.

Over the summer, city planning officials released a draft scoping document, a detailed description of what “impacts” they believe should be studied (you can read that document here). At the hearing, representatives from Community Board 3 will offer testimony.  Last night, they released a preliminary version of their statement, which generally praises the city for finally moving forward with SPURA. But it also criticizes the omission of various aspects of CB3’s planning guidelines, including a commitment to set aside 50% of all apartments for affordable housing.

Anyone who wishes to provide testimony is encouraged to do so. The meetings will take place October 11th, at University Settlement, 184 Eldridge Street. The daytime session will be held from 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m. The evening session begins at 6:30 p.m.  Written comments on the draft scope can also be submitted to the NYC Economic Development Corp. via email at or by mail to: NYEDC, Attn: Marilyn Lee, 110 William St, New York, NY 10038 until 5:00 Friday, October 21, 2011.

If you’d like a refresher on the SPURA process, check out our previous coverage here.

A Word From Our Sponsors

Beginning this week, we debut “A Word From Our Sponsors,” a kind of online bulletin board highlighting news and deals from our advertisers:

  • M&M Environmental, the leader in eco-friendly pest management services, is offering $15 off when you mention The Lo-Down.
  • Henry Street Settlement wants to get the word out that registration is now open for Saturday kids’ sports programs – basketball and rugby clinics are being offered, as well as open gym.
  • Amarilis Perez, Educational Alliance Teen Center director, writes about Global Girls on Edgies’ new blog, Building Blocks.
  • Dora Coffee, 221 East Broadway, is offering 25% off Balthazar pastries, after 3 p.m., when you mention The Lo-Down.
  • The Village Zendo is presenting a writing workshop, Opening The Hand of Thought: Writing as Practice in Not-Knowing, on October 15th, from 10a-1p, for only $15.


Weekend Kids’ Pick

LES kids perform musical as part of Howl Festival this Saturday.

On Saturday at 1pm, local students will perform “Students on Strike” as part of the HOWL Festival. The musical tells the story of a group of Virginia students who walked out of their segregated high school to protest the overcrowded and inferior facilities. During the two-week strike, the  National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) helped them in their struggle for equal educational opportunities. Their case landed in the Supreme Court as part of Brown v. Board of Education, which declared segregation in public education unconstitutional.

The Musical is by Rosie’s Theater Kids (RTKids), which began in 2003 with free arts-in-education programs. They serve the East Village and Lower East Side communities in classrooms at PS 19, PS 64, PS 34, PS 20, PS 142, PS 130, PS 110, PS 15.

The show is at Theatre 80 St. Marks, tickets are $10. Other dates are October 15, 22, 29.

For more LES kids events, visit our kids page.

CB3 Wire: New Bars Proposed, Approved

At Cheeky's Sandwiches on Orchard, you can soon get a beer with your po' boy.

Community Board 3’s October meeting agendas will be released later today. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the Lower East Side restaurants going for liquor licenses when the SLA Committee convenes Oct. 17.

A place called Yunnan Kitchen is applying for a wine and beer license at 79 Clinton St., where Falai Panetteria is currently located. As we have reported, there’s some speculation that the Italian bakery might move into a larger space in the same building. Owner Iacopo Falai told the Times he would keep the cae open, while closing the more formal Falai Restaurant a few doors to the north on Clinton Street.

An establishment named “Salita” is apparently taking over another space on the neighborhood’s so-called “restaurant row.”  They’re looking for a full liquor license at 60 Clinton St., where Spanish restaurant 1492 is now. The space, incidentally, boasts one of the LES’s more inviting backyard gardens.

The troubled storefront at 189 East Houston (most recently Masala Twist) is about to get a new tenant. “HSC Clam” will be going for a wine and beer license.

Morning Reads: Michael Moore at St. Mark’s, Morrison Hotel Gallery is Gone, Rosh Hashanah Rush

  • Michael Moore is coming to the endangered St. Mark’s Bookshop tomorrow night (St. Mark’s Bookshop).
  • The Morrison Hotel Gallery is gone from the Bowery (EV Grieve).
  • Today Rep. Nydia Velazquez will urge fellow-lawmakers to block deep cuts to housing programs (WSJ).
  • Rosh Hashanah rush: Russ & Daughters will be open until 5 p.m., closed tomorrow for the holiday. It’s going to be craazzzy! (Lox Populi).


Good Morning!

The new ballfields at Corlear’s Hook Park near Jackson and Cherry streets are just about ready for play. Today’s (and tomorrow’s) weather will seem familiar: cloudy with a chance of showers, with a high around 80. We may see the sun again on Friday, though.  Rosh Hashanah begins tonight at sundown. Happy New Year!

Hyper Island Departing Orchard Street

Hyper Island opened its digital media school at 74 Orchard in July 2010.

The block of Orchard Street between Grand and Broome is brimming with business news this week. In addition to Cafe Katja’s planned expansion we reported yesterday, The Lo-Down has learned that Hyper Island is departing for SoHo while adjacent boutique By Robert James may take over its former storefront.

The Swedish-based digital media school debuted on Orchard Street in July 2010, establishing its first U.S. headquarters here on the Lower East Side. Maria Eriksson, a Hyper Island representative, says the company was outgrowing the space and decided it was a good time to move. The new, larger offices will allow the company to host classes of up to 50 people, rather than the current max of 10, but the move is still a bit bittersweet. “We love Orchard Street,” said Eriksson.

Braising Billy: Making the Most of Rich Goat Meat

Photo by Cynthia Lamb

I’m no stranger to goat meat; been eating and cooking the stuff for years. A Trini friend showed me how to marinate the meat in green spice and burn sugar on the bottom of the pot for curry goat. Later, I spent a year reverse-engineering the excellent (and sadly no longer on the menu) sofrito-based cabrito guisado served at El Castillo de Jagua. I’ve proudly served goat to family and friends, including a few rock stars.

The goat meat available in supermarkets sometimes bears a suspicious resemblance to mutton (tough and fatty). It couldn’t be a bait and switch, could it?  (Butcher friends hinted it might be in some cases).  Those who want to be sure of getting goat instead of mutton labeled as goat are wise to buy from a butcher.

Living on the LES: Local Stories from Local People

This Sunday, Oct. 2, the BMW Guggenheim Lab at Houston Street and Second Avenue will host a collection of first-person stories about life on the LES. “Growing Up and Old on the Lower East Side: 5-minute stories from locals on making a home in a place of flux” runs from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Officially for Rent: Falai’s Former Home

The restaurant formerly known as Falai is for rent at 68 Clinton St.

As we noted two weeks ago, Falai has closed its doors after nearly seven years at 68 Clinton St. From The Lo-Down inbox, we now learn that the restaurant is ready for a new tenant. Broker Steven Kamali’s firm has listed it at $8,800/month, with a 10-year-lease and a $250,000 fixture fee. The restaurant seats 40 diners inside, and 20 more in the 600-square-foot garden. There’s also a 1,000-square-foot basement.

Falai Panetteria, the casual cafe across the street at 79 Clinton, remains open for business but is listed for rent as well, at $6,300/month.

Morning Reads: Tammany Hall Melee, Dagny & Barstow, The Low Line, Bike Lanes, No Bomb

  • The five defendants in this summer’s Tammany Hall melee are due in court today; their lawyer is talking civil suits. (DNAInfo)
  • Dagny & Barstow, the boutique slated to open at 264 Bowery by now, has opened temporarily in a pop-up shop in the Meatpacking District instead. Why? It’s quite a story. (Racked)
  • What’s really living in the underground space that may become The Low Line? Mole people. (NY Observer)
  • Brian Rose, a Cooper Union graduate who made the Lower East Side his muse in the early 1980s and again in the early 2000s, is trying to publish a book of his work, and needs help. (Kickstarter)
  • Pay no attention to the Twitter panic: there was no bomb at the corner of Allen and Delancey last night. The empty suitcase there turned out to be, well, an empty suitcase. (VV: Runnin’ Scared)
  • Borough President Scott Stringer released a detailed report on stalled construction sites yesterday, and unsurprisingly, the Lower East Side has a lot: 19. (EVGrieve, Gothamist)
  • The city council’s transportation committee took aim at bike lane regs yesterday, and cycling advocates fear more red tape. (Streetsblog)

Good Morning!

Today’s weather looks like more of the same: patchy fog, cloudy skies, highs around 80–at least this climate pattern makes for nice sunsets!

Free Rock Concert Friday in East River Amphitheater

Members of the rock band Bodyface are worried that rock radio is dying in New York City, in the wake of the reformatting of WRXP-FM this summer, and they plan to do something about it.

This Friday, Sept. 30, the band and other sponsors will host a free concert called Bring Rock Back, featuring bands from all five boroughs playing in the amphitheater in East River Park, just south of Grand Street.

Food Wrap: Heritage Meats, SuChin Pak, Sauce

Renovations continue at New Roma Pizza at Delancey and Essex.

 Starting off the week’s local restaurant and food news:

  • NY1 visited the new Heritage Meats in Essex Street Market last week.
  • Hester Street Fair co-founder SuChin Pak talks to Grub Street about her cravings for Pho and her new day job at DailyCandy, just as Uniqlo plasters her face on buses.
  • Sauce restaurant, the Italian eatery scheduled to open at 78 Rivington this fall, is hiring an experienced butcher, according to CraigsList.
  • Fork in the Road introduces a new peel noodle joint at 28 Forsyth St.