Celebrating the Year of the Dragon in Chinatown

Thousands of people lined the streets of Chinatown today for the annual Lunar New Year Parade, sponsored by the Better Chinatown Society.  Tomorrow we’ll have a full photo album from today’s festivities.


Prepping For the Lunar New Year Parade


Preparations are nearly finished on Mott Street, as the start of Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade approaches! Happy Year of the Dragon.


Weekend Music Picks

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side for this weekend:

Casey Shea

CASEY SHEA BAND– Fri Jan. 27 | 11pm at Rockwood Music Hall

Floridian rocker Casey Shea proves that pop can be edgy. After beginning his music career in Nashville, Shea moved to New York where he continued to cultivate his smart, rock sound. With a mind for melody, Shae writes songs with handfuls of hooks and layered arrangements, many with a tongue-in-cheek nod. He plays Rockwood this weekend in support of his third recording “In Your Head”. FREE//196 Allen St.

LES Bites: Wylie Dufresne, Sons of Essex, Bowery Diner

Photo credit: Chef Wylie Dufresne (Talia Herman).

Today’s Lower East Side food news:

  • Eater chats with WD-50’s Wylie Dufresne.
  • More opinions about Bowery Diner; “falling way short of expectations,” says nightlife big shot Steve Lewis.
  • Sons of Essex celebrates Chinese New Year tonight and tomorrow; specials include Peking duck empanadas, tea smoked lamb ribs, peanut and black sesame noodles.
  • Serious Eats puts the Italian sub at Pulino’s to the test.


Stop ‘N’ Swap This Weekend at PS 126

Grow NYC is hosting a “Stop ‘N’ Swap” tomorrow at PS 126 (80 Catherine St. at Cherry St.)  They write:

Community “swaps” provide the perfect opportunity to find new homes for things you no longer need. By taking home items that you can use, you are also helping to prevent waste from production, packaging and transportation required to get new things.

The Office of Recycling Outreach and Education coordinates the Stop ‘N’ Swap in the communities where we are working to improve recycling in order to facilitate waste prevention and material reuse.  We have held 28 swaps so far, serving more than 7,000 people.

City Open to Selling Avenue D Lot to Developer

The area outlined in orange, a total of six lots, is slated for redevelopment as a luxury rental building called Alphabet Plaza.

We have a follow-up on “Alphabet Plaza,” the 12-story residential and commercial building being planned at East 2nd Street and Avenue D.  Last week, the Real Deal reported that Queens-based Kahen Properties is preparing to start construction on the project within the next couple of months.

The plan is similar to one floated in 2010 by beer mogul Simon Bergson, who owned several empty lots along East 2nd Street. But according to the report, the project “did not come to fruition,” and he agreed to sell the parcels to Kahen for $21 million.

There is a key difference, however. Bergson’s project, known as the “Houston Dee,” would have utilized his property as well as an adjacent lot owned by the city. The parcel, labeled lot 49 on the map you see above, is located at 302 East 2nd Street.

Morning Reads: Chinatown Bus Battles, Playing Field Rules, Grandiose Exhibitions on the Bowery

  • Report: Chinatown bus operator kept operating even after federal shutdown order (WABC).
  • State Senator Squadron blasts “partisan redistricting.” (Politicker NY)
  • The public gets its chance to weigh in on proposed new rules for city-operated playing fields (Local EV).
  • Demolition appears to be imminent for an East 3rd Street building that preservation groups tried to save (EV Grieve).
  • “Leakey’s Ladies” at Dixon Place draws on “promising source material” but is overly wonky and ultimately disappoints (NYT).
  • At “blue chip gallery” Sperone Westwater: “Marble Sculpture from 350 B.C. to Last Week” and “Portraits/Self-Portraits from the 16th to the 21st Century.” (NYT)


Good Morning!

The East Broadway subway station. Photo by Roey Ahram

Keep your umbrella with you today, there are more showers in the forecast. Temperatures will top 50 degrees, though. The weekend is looking drier, with partly sunny days and highs in the mid-40s. Enjoy your weekend!

Community Activist Accused of Embezzling From Low-Income Forsyth Street Co-op

A Lower East Side political activist with a history of criticizing abusers of subsidized housing has been accused of stealing more than $260,000 from a small low-income co-op at 172 Forsyth St. for which he served as the property manager, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Roberto Caballero, 53, was arraigned in Supreme Court this afternoon. He faces one charge of second-degree grand larceny, 18 counts of second-degree forgery, 18 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument (second degree) and 8 counts of first-degree falsifying business records, according to a District Attorney spokeswoman.

According to authorities, Caballero is accused of forging more than 150 checks from the building’s bank account in the treasurer’s name between January 2007 and July 2010. He is also accused of quadrupling his $450/month salary, by arranging to have $450 deposited weekly rather than monthly, into his own account, according to the Supreme Court indictment. As property manager, he was responsible for collecting rent from tenants and making deposits into the building’s bank accounts to pay the bills and maintenance costs for the six-story, 17-unit building which faces Sara D. Roosevelt Park, between Rivington and Stanton streets.

Caballero is no stranger to headlines. In 2010, the New York Post and Gothamist featured his public accusations about a “lesbian-friendly” building in the East Village discriminating against men, noting the affordable units were favored by well-to-do gay women, including Margarita Lopez, a housing authority board member and former city councilwoman, and current Councilwoman Rosie Mendez. A week later, the Post quoted him extensively as a “manager of many Lower East Side low-income co-ops,” in a piece about abuses of the city’s affordable housing programs.

Funding Approved for Pier 42 and East River Waterfront

A rendering of one proposal for Pier 42 along the East River.

Two major projects along the East River waterfront moved one step closer to reality this morning, when the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation voted officially to fund them.

As we’ve been expecting, the redevelopment of Pier 42 was allotted $14 million, while another $1.9 million was tagged for the completion of the East River Waterfront Park.

Both projects have been championed  by state Sen. Daniel Squadron and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, who announced last fall that they had secured a promise of the funding. Today’s vote made it official and set the stage for the planning process to formally begin; a public meeting is scheduled for next month.

“This funding will be a step toward the world-class waterfront and open space we’ve long fought for, while continuing the revitalization of Lower Manhattan,” Squadron said in a prepared statement after the vote. “By connecting Lower Manhattan’s waterfront parks, it will create a ‘continuous green ribbon’ and move us a big step closer to a Harbor Park – a central park for the center of our city.”

Arts Symposium at University Settlement This Weekend

Our friends and neighbors at University Settlement, Henry Street Settlement, along with many other community organizations, are teaming up on a free three-day event that begins this evening at the University Settlement building, 184 Eldridge St.

The Art is Not Apart Symposium will bring together artists, educators, curators and community workers who seek to reclaim the arts as an integral part of community life.

Explore the Bike Share Program This Weekend

You’ve heard all the buzz about the NYC Bike Share program for the last few months. Maybe you voted online for a station in the neighborhood. It’s scheduled to launch this summer, and this weekend is your chance to get up close and personal with the program at an open house on Saturday, Jan. 28 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Essex Street Market. Program operators Alta Bicycle Share will show off the bikes, answer questions and give away goodies in an event sponsored by the Lower East Side BID, the city’s Department of Transportation and the Essex Street Market.

CB3 Approves Essex Street Lighting Plan

There are 18 bishop's crook light fixtures on Essex Street.

Tuesday evening, Community Board 3 voted in favor of a proposal from the Lower East Side Business Improvement District to replace 28 street lights on Essex Street, between East Houston and Canal.  The plan now goes to the Public Design Commission for approval.

Today in Signs That Make You Feel Good

We all know that myth about New Yorkers being cold and unhelpful to each other is untrue. This week’s proof: someone stopped a bike thief on East Houston Street Monday morning and is trying to return the bike to its rightful owner. This note is posted on the south side of the street just west of the intersection with Allen Street. (We presume they mean bring the key in that last sentence.) If you know the bike’s owner, tip them off. If you have interesting photos from around the Lower East Side you’d like to share, tip us! tips@thelodownny.com.

Morning Reads: The Return of CBGB?, Green Buildings, Bar Noise, Photography Both Current and Historic

  • Music fans, don’t get too excited, it’s all still hearsay. But yes, there’s some talk of rekindling CBGB in a new location, and possibly launching a summer music festival. (Gothamist, BrooklynVegan)
  • The Henry Street Settlement building is featured in a piece about the greening of historic NYC buildings. (NYT)
  • An analysis of 311 complaints about noise points fingers at various East Village venues, but bar owners shrug it off as a few unhappy neighbors. (EVLocal)
  • A series of photographs of the interior of an historic East Village theater hiding above a soon-to-be-defunct bodega on Avenue A has gone viral. Check out the original post if you haven’t already. (EVGrieve)
  • More photos: A collection of shots by Charles W. Cushman from 1941 and 1942 show long-gone scenes of the Lower East Side. McSorley’s Ale House looks exactly the same, though. (DailyMail)