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Cabrini Nursing Home May Keep Building, Remain Open Under New Owner

The Cabrini nursing home provides care for 240 patients.

There may be some good news for Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in the East Village today, just as 2011 comes to a close.

This afternoon, we’ve received a copy of a letter from an attorney representing the owner of the building, who bought it for $25.5 million in September. The letter, a response to last week’s plea for help from local elected officials seeking to avoid closure of the low-income nursing home, reveals that the potential buyer negotiating with current owner, MM 62-74 Avenue B Owner (believed to be backed by Ben Shaoul), is actually a for-profit operator who is seeking to acquire both the nursing home operations and the real estate it occupies.

Writes Kenneth Fisher, of Cozen O’Connor:

On December 6, 2011, Cabrini’s counsel advised me that it was negotiating with a for-profit operator for the sale of its business operations, and identifying him as a potential purchaser for the real estate as well … after some discussion, and recognizing the urgency of the situation, the parties reached an understanding of what will be necessary for a transaction to occur.

Fisher goes on the caution that no deal has been inked, and asks the recipients of the letter to encourage Cabrini’s leaders and the new operator to conclude their negotiations and reach a deal as soon as possible, as the real estate sale is dependent upon the sale of the business.

Happy New Year and Thank You!

Photo by Jennifer Strom.

As we say goodbye to 2011, we wanted to take this opportunity to express our thanks to you, our readers, as well as our sponsors (who make it possible for us to cover this amazing neighborhood) and especially to our growing staff and regular contributors. They are: Ken Beasley, Bridget Bosworth, JP Bowersock, A. Jesse Jiryu Davis, Tobi Elkin, Leo Kin, Cynthia Lamb, Jennifer Strom, Mark Ward, Royal Young and Jac Zagoory. We also would like to thank the members of our advisory board (David Bolotsky, David Garza and Florence Eng) for their invaluable guidance this year.  Happy New Year from The Lo-Down!

Morning Reads: Liu Faces More Scrutiny, Double Happyness Busted, Going Solo at the Bowery Ballroom

  • New questions are being raised about NYC Comptroller John Liu’s 2009 finances (NY1).
  • More on the U.S. DOT’s decision to shut down Double Happyness, the discount bus carrier serving Chinatown (Post).
  • Another look at Lola Montes Schnabel’s star-studded opening on the Bowery (Artnet).
  • Deerhunter front man Bradford Cox goes solo at the Bowery Ballroom (Bloomberg).

Good Morning!

East River Park, near Grand Street.

Welcome to the second to the last day of 2011.  We’ll see a mixture of sun and clouds today with a high of 51.  More nice weather ahead for the holiday weekend.  Partly cloudy tomorrow and Sunday, New Year’s Day, with high in the low 50’s.  For Monday (a federal holiday), it’ll be cloudy and windy with a high of 41.


Elected Officials Urge Ben Shaoul To Maintain Cabrini Home, as Re-Sale Appears Imminent

Cabrini Nursing Home, 542 East 5th Street.

Earlier this month, The Lo-Down learned the building housing the Cabrini Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation on East 5th Street recently sold for $25.5 million.  Today, the neighborhood’s elected officials are out with a letter to the new owner, Magnum Real Estate Group, expressing concern about the prospect that the company intends to sell the building yet again.

Lower East Side Top 10: The Biggest Stories of 2011

Max Fish, the Ludlow Street institution, was shuttered in May.

The other day we published our “most clicked on” posts of 2011. Today, a look at the biggest/most significant stories we covered in the past 12 months.


Lower East Side bar owners hosted a most unwelcome guest this year: 7th Precinct Captain David Miller, a veteran of Chelsea’s club wars. The 7th Precinct conducted numerous undercover operations in the neighborhood’s nightlife establishments, in the name of uncovering underage drinking and other violations. Among the bars temporarily shuttered during 2011: legendary Ludlow Street watering hole Max Fish, Mason Dixon, White Slab Palace, Welcome to the Johnsons, Foundation, Le Lupanar and Gallery Bar.  Miller said he was simply addressing issues that Community Board 3 and residents have complained about for a long time: unruly crowds and late night noise.  One bar manager spoke with us in June, saying the crackdown was unfair and bad for the neighborhood.  A lawyer representing Clinton Street performance space and gallery, Culturefix, told a judge, “something stinks on the Lower East Side.”  Perhaps coincidentally (perhaps not), the crackdown subsided after a June clash (between cops and patrons) outside Tammany Hall and the arrival in the autumn of Captain Peter Venice, the 7th precinct’s new top cop.

“Delancey Underground’s” 2012 Goal: “Submit a Winning Bid” to the MTA

There’s been a lot of talk this year about “The Delancey Underground,” the subterranean park James Ramsey and Dan Barasch want to build in the old trolley station below Delancey Street.  Recently, Barasch joined the founders of The High Line (a project that, in part, inspired their idea) on CUNY-TV.

Not a lot we haven’t heard before. But a couple of points Barasch made are worth highlighting. First, the Delancey Underground team fully expects the MTA (which manages the abandoned terminal) to issue a “request for proposals” sometime soon.  Barasch said, “our goal in 2012 is to submit the winning bid.”

Second, he said a big emphasis right now is demonstrating that “economic value” can be derived from a public space.  There’s no doubt the MTA (and the city) will be tempted to choose among the most lucrative proposals, which presumably would involve commercial real estate development in the 60,000 sq. ft. space.  The High Line has, of course, triggered a real estate boom on the West Side (something not everyone welcomes).  Barasch made it clear he and Ramsey hope to have Community Board 3 and the community-at-large on their side — demonstrating to the MTA that there’s broad support on the Lower East Side for a park rather than, say a subterranean Wal-Mart.


Two Teens Victims of Armed Robbery on J Train

The Police Blotter in the Post describes the robbery on the J Train of two teens coming home from a Christmas party.  It happened Monday around 3 a.m. as the train was approaching the Bowery station.  One of the suspects pulled out a knife and demanded money.  According to the report, a second suspect then took the knife and held it to the 19-year old victim’s throat.  Police say the victim would not hand over the money, so one of the suspects revealed a gun, allegedly threatening, “I’ll shoot you! I’ve been in the system.”  The other victim, also 19, gave them a watch and cell phone. The attackers took off when the train reached Canal Street.

Morning Reads: New Life For the Jarmulowsky, “Chinatown Bus” Company Curbed, Polish Diner Closes

  • Mark Miller, president of the LES BID has an interesting 2012 prediction: “(The) Jarmulowsky’s Bank Building, located on the corner of Orchard and Canal streets, will be sold to a new owner who will begin development to turn this Lower East Side treasure into a boutique hotel.” (Our Town).
  • The U.S. Transportation Dept. shuts down “Double Happyness,” a discount bus company based in Virginia that makes regular trips to Chinatown. An investigation found “multiple violations of rules regarding vehicle maintenance, alcohol and controlled-substance testing and driver hours.” (Delaware Online).
  • Polonia, the Polish diner on 1st Avenue, has closed (EV Grieve).
  • More publicity for “On the Walls of the Lower East Side,” the Sol LeWitt exhibition at the Mondrian Soho (CNN).


Good Morning!

Sunset bridge

Photo by C Merry.

Partly cloudy today with a high of 38. Those winds we’ve been experiencing will make it feel a little cooler, at times. So as your mother always tells you, don’t forget to take a hat!  The early look at the holiday weekend is encouraging. Highs around 50 and fairly dry (showers possible tomorrow evening).


Take Our Survey – Win a $100 Katz’s Deli Gift Card!

As 2011 winds down, we’re making plans for another great year on the Lower East Side. To help us provide the best coverage possible and to build a sustainable community news organization in the years to come, we hope you’ll fill out a brief online survey. As a little extra incentive,  you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card from Katz’s Deli (ring in the new year with Pastrami!)  To be eligible you need to fill out the survey by Sunday, January 1st.

Click here to take our survey.

“Pariah” Opens at the Sunshine Cinema Today

Aasha Davis as Bina and Adepero Oduye as Alike in ``Pariah.''

There’s a noteworthy opening at the Sunshine Cinema today. Pariah is the story of a young black woman from a traditional Brooklyn family coming to terms with the fact that she’s gay.  It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and is generating quite a bit of “Oscar buzz.” The LA Times says it’s a “street smart story” that, while a little “rough around the edges, ” is believable, subtle and tender.  Click here for tickets and show times.


“Recession Art” to Program Culturefix Performance Space, Gallery

Photo via Culturefix's Facebook page.

Some changes are coming to Culturefix, the performance space/gallery/bar at 9 Clinton Street in 2012.  Co-owners Cole Schaeffer and Ari Stern are partnering with Brooklyn-based “Recession Art” to program their cultural events and to run the retail space that has until now been a “pop-up” store (first for Perfect Picnic, then for Ernest Alexander).

On its web site, Recession Art explains:

“We are thrilled to announce that in 2012, Recession Art will expand into an additional permanent space  Recession Art and CULTUREfix have partnered to create an art space for emerging artists and aspiring collectors. Recession Art will curate the CULTUREfix gallery with solo shows by Featured Artists and group shows by alumni and other emerging artists. Affordable artwork, prints, and books by these artists and more will be available at Recession Art’s storefront… Curator Risa Shoup will act as RAC’s Programming Director, scheduling weekly events including readings, performances, discussions, and dinners to complement the exhibitions and storefront offerings.

The first show opens January 21st, featuring the work of New York artist Megan Berk.  Details can be found on Recession Art’s web site.


Morning Reads: Danny Chen Investigation, Worst Landlords, “Hester Street” Honored

  • Columnist Margaret Carlson on the investigation into the suspicious death of Private Danny Chen: “The Army should be commended for not stonewalling.” But she asks, “how is it possible that Chen could have been so abused without anyone in authority knowing of his torment, in a place where military discipline is enforced and where eyes are open 24/7?” (Bloomberg)
  • The Public Advocate releases a new list of the city’s worst landlords; no Lower East Side buildings made the cut (NY1).
  • The 1975 film “Hester Street” is added to the National Film Registry (Hollywood Reporter).
  • Kids from the Henry Street Settlement travel to the country to visit rescued horses (WABC).