TLD Interview: Abrons Artistic Director Jay Wegman

The Residents - From "Sam's Enchanted Evening"

We spoke with Abrons Arts Center’s Artistic Director, Jay Wegman, as he was preparing to announce his 2012 Spring Season. We discussed some of the upcoming shows and what he would like to see for Abrons in the future. Wegman has been producing some very cutting edge performances over the last few years. In 2009, The New York Times noted that Abrons “is gaining a reputation as one of the last standing locations for avant garde performance downtown.”

TLD – Tell us what you’re excited about this season.

JW – Well the spring kicks off with John Cage – who used to be a music teacher here – and it’s the 100th anniversary of his birthday so Alarm Will Sound is coming. They are based in Chicago – and Carnegie Hall is bringing them here as part of their American Maverick Series, as well as the Jack Quartet – so those are two free events for the community.

My LES: Chiun Ng

Chiun Ng. Photo by

This weekly feature spotlights a wide variety of people who live and work on the Lower East Side. If you know someone you would like to suggest be featured in “My LES,” please email us here.

What do you do?

I’m an architect. The firm I work at (Holzman Moss Bottino) does cultural and civic types of buildings. One of the first projects I worked on was Brooklyn Academy of Music. I loved it. I just completed a new theater in Ohio last year. Right now I’m working on a library renovation in Delaware. I am also a member of Community Board 3.

How long have you lived on the LES?

Eight-plus years. In 2003 I saw a listing in the paper and then I hiked to Avenue C to see it. I called my brother Chihou in Seattle right afterward. I told him that I fell in love with the neighborhood and I wanted to move here. He said to me, “Just do it!”  Here I am – I’ve been living in the LES ever since.

101-Year Old Yonah Schimmel Endangered by East Houston Reconstruction

Yonah Schimmel, 137 East Houston. Photo by

Yonah Schimmel, the legendary knish shop, has survived the Great Depression, years of gentrification and many other difficulties in its 101 year history. It remains to be seen whether the historic business, one of the last remaining Jewish retail establishments on the Lower East Side, will also survive the reconstruction of East Houston Street.

The huge project, which is scheduled to be finished in the summer of 2013, has been tough on a lot of businesses, stretching from the Bowery to FDR Drive.  Last week Ellen Anistratov, who owns the knish shop with her father, told us why the torn up street is not just an inconvenience for Yonah Schimmel, but possibly a permanent business killer.

Flying People, Smart Cities and Fukushima All at This Month’s Lucid Party

Photo courtesy of LucidNYC

Lucid NYC cultural events offer more than your average “meet up.” According to producers Julian Lion Boxenbaum and David Friedlander, they are “a conduit for smart and interesting people to meet one another in a relaxed and familiar social setting while learning about exciting new projects from leading edge thinkers.”  All this is presented over mouth-watering libations, scrumptious food and a laid back social networking vibe. Well, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

CB3 to City: Give Bowery Newsstand Operator a Break

Newsstand located at 18 Bowery.

In nine days, Bowery newsstand operator Marilyn Louie could be forced to move to a new location or shut down her little business, after 35 years on a Chinatown street corner.  Last week, we reported that Community Board 3’s transportation committee had voted in favor a resolution urging the city to allow Louie to stay in her current location, in spite of a ruling that a new newsstand bureaucrats required her to install is three inches too wide for the sidewalk.

Now we have the full text of that draft resolution. We’re posting it today because  CB3’s full board will not vote to okay the resolution until a week from tomorrow, one day before Louie’s deadline to close her newsstand at 18 Bowery.  Who knows? Maybe someone at the Department of Transportation or the Department of Consumer Affairs will get the message!

Morning Reads: Albany “Pork” May Return, “On the Bowery” DVD, Adorable Artists

  • Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver signals his intention to restore “member items” to the state budget this year (Times Union).
  • The Post thinks it’s a terrible idea to bring back “pork barrel” spending (Post).
  • A cab smashes into Hearth, the restaurant on East 12th Street (Eater).
  • A new two-disc DVD version of “On the Bowery” will be available starting tomorrow (NYT).
  • Aren’t those young artists being featured in the New Museum’s Triennial adorable? (T Magazine).


Breaking: Overturned Truck on Williamsburg Bridge.

Williamsburg Bridge, westbound. Photo credit: @alwaysactions.

There are numerous reports of an overturned truck on the Williamsburg side of the Williamsburg Bridge.  The driver was apparently not hurt but the accident has blocked all of the westbound lanes, causing a major traffic backup just as rush hour is getting underway.  The Fire Department is on the scene.

Danson, Gosling & Cosby Star in Hanksy Street Art

Photos courtesy of Krause Gallery.

Street artist Hanksy strikes again.  The latest targets are Ted Danson, Ryan Gosling and Bill Cosby. You can have a look in-person if you take a walk past Freeman Alley, Orchard Street near Division and Stanton Street near Ludlow.  Hanksy’s first gallery show was a big hit at Krause Gallery, 149 Orchard, last month.  Some of his Tom Hanks creations are part of a group show at the gallery through March 5. A couple more images after the jump.

Good Morning!

145 Ludlow Street. Photo by Phillip Kalantzis-Cope.

Cloudy this morning, but we should see some sunshine this afternoon and a high of 46.  Another mild week is ahead with not much chance of rain or snow.  It’s President’s Day! That means public schools, government offices and the financial markets are closed.  If you’re lucky enough to have a long weekend, enjoy!