Monologue Jam Comes to Arlene’s Grocery

Photo courtesy Alacrity Project

I’ve heard of Music Jams and Poetry Slams, but never Monologue Jams. Leave it to a group of LES artists to create a new genre. Courtesy of the Alacrity Project, a LES based theater company, the Monologue Jam, part of their A Live Series, provides “self-producing artists the opportunity to perform on a black-box-style stage in an alternative environment.”

To add to the kitty, the performers will be recorded (they get to keep their “tape”) while they are on stage, and adjudicated by a panel of professional artists—audience members can also vote for their favorite performers. Two winners get to select a prize from an assortment of goodies, including gift certificates to local restaurants and music lessons. All in all, not a bad deal for those struggling to make it as an actor!

This week’s jam on Sunday night is at Arlene’s Grocery.  The evening will feature fifteen performers from all over New York City. Comedians, Erin Conroy & J.F. Harris share hosting and emcee duties.

The Monologue Jam / Alacrity Project / Arlene’s Grocery / Sunday, December 2 / 4 – 6pm / Suggested donation $5 – $10


Rooftop Films Raising Money to Return to the LES

Our friends at Rooftop Films are doing a Kickstarter Campaign to keep their summer series going.  They put on fun events at different rooftop venues throughout the city, but the films they screen on the L.E.S. at Open Road Rooftop (on top of the old Seward Park High School) have always been some of their biggest and most popular. Apparently, Open Road Rooftop has raised their rental rates, so it’s important to help chip in on this one, if you are a fan of independent film.

Morning Reads: Waterfront Worries, East Houston Bike Lanes, New Museum Dance-Off

  • Michael Bloomberg believes the waterfront is still a great place to live (Capital).
  • Unprotected bike lanes come to East Houston Street (EV Grieve).
  • Sheldon Silver said a coalition between a group of Senate Democrats and Republicans would amount to “pure politics.” (Buffalo News).
  • Bowery burlesque: Bettie page shop opens across from the former Bowery Poetry Club (The Local EV).
  • Sculptor Alice Channer has her American solo debut at the Lisa Cooley gallery (NYT).
  • Those New Museum guards have got some moves! (Animal).


Good Morning!

Morning Light on Rivington

Rivington Street. Photo by Lee Brozgol.

Partly cloudy today with a high of 44.  Cloudy and 43 tomorrow.  Sunday we’re expecting a high of 53 and cloudy skies.  Have a good weekend.

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Wilson Tang: “$1 a Plate” Street Fair Won’t Help Chinatown

Flyers for this weekend’s street fair have gone up throughout Chinatown.

Editor’s note: A couple of days ago we mentioned a street fair taking place Saturday to drum up business for Chinatown shops and restaurants struggling after Hurricane Sandy.  But not everyone thinks the event is the best way to make the neighborhood’s small businesses stronger.  Among them: Nom Wah Tea Parlor owner (and TLD contributor) Wilson Tang.   Here are his thoughts on the “Chinatown Revival Fair.”

Chinatown holds a special place in my heart.  It’s where I grew up, it’s where I work and own a business, and I’m proud to be part of this community.  Whether I’m pointing tourists in the right direction, seeing my doctor or dentist in Chinatown, buying produce or “pigging out,” I’m a big advocate for “keeping it local.”

From my vantage point, it’s not hard to see the obstacles Chinatown’s small business owners face, especially restaurant operators. They’re constantly chasing the dream instead of living the dream — with the lowest profit margins imaginable. Think about what it’s like making a living selling  $1 dumplings and $3 lunch boxes. I speak from first hand experience.  In 2004, I opened a bakery on Allen Street, near Hester, but eventually closed the place because I wasn’t getting the volume to survive on 60 cent coffees and 80 cent pastries. Working 80 plus hours a week wasn’t doing me any good either.  As fixed costs increase and rents continue to go up, you don’t have a chance in this neighborhood unless you’re doing huge volume.

Earlier this week, the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, along with the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, announced they were holding a street fair this weekend to help local businesses recover from the losses sustained during and after Hurricane Sandy. On face value, I thought it was a good idea to promote small business in my neighborhood during a really tough time.  It seemed like a great way to get people down to Chinatown to spend money and to help out the local economy.

Cocktails For a Cause Tonight at Libation

Come out for some cocktails and support the communities in the Rockaways.  There is a fun benefit this evening at Libation. The hosts write:  Please join us for “Cocktails for a Cause” at Libation 6:30pm on Thursday, November 29th. The communities of Broad Channel, Breezy Point, and Rockaway Beach have been deeply impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and we need the support of our friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to help us rebuild our beloved beach community. There will be a suggested $10 donation at the door, as well as a raffle, and half price drinks all night! Donations will go to Rockaway WISH (Women Inspired to Support & Help), a local Rockaway foundation established in 2006; WISH members are born & bred Rockawayites. Their mission – post Hurricane Sandy – is to provide monetary relief for victims during the recovery and rebuild phases of this disaster. Please help spread the word, and stop by, even just for a bit, as it means so much to us and our community!


Morning Reads: Chinatown Pedestrian Death, Gun-Peddling Cop Sentenced, “Giant” at the Public

  • City Council member Margaret Chin asks the NYPD to investigate the death of a pedestrian who was struck and killed by a National Guard truck in Chinatown (Streetsblog).
  • Police are looking for help in identifying a woman who was found wandering Avenue A yesterday morning (WCBS).
  • A cop is sentenced to 15 years in prison for stealing guns from the 9th Precinct and selling them to a drug dealer (Post).
  • Some in Washington are puzzled that Governor Cuomo did not join Michael Bloomberg on Capitol Hill to lobby for hurricane aid (NYT).
  • After sustaining water damage during Hurricane Sandy, the Stanton Street Shul has launched a crowdfunding campaign (Lucky Ant).
  • A climate change film shot following Sandy was projected on a wall above the Exxon Mobil station on East 2nd Street (Village Voice).
  • A new report shows the number of stalled building sites in New York has jumped by 17% since the beginning of 2012 (Post).
  • A progress report on the new Karl Fischer building going up at 316 East 3rd Street (EV Grieve).
  • “Giant,” the new musical at the Public has “great moments” but “lacks proportion.” (Capital)


Good Morning!

LES Roofscape

Photo by Joel Raskin.

Partly cloudy skies today with a high of 45.

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CB3 Releases December Liquor License Agenda

The Sunshine Cinema is applying for a new liquor permit. Photo via: Cinema Treasures.

Community Board 3 is out with next month’s meeting agendas, including the lineup for the December 10th SLA Committee hearing.  Here’s a look at the restaurants and bars applying for liquor permits on the Lower East Side:


SLA & DCA Licensing Committee
Monday, December 10 at 6:30pm — JASA/Green Residence – 200 East 5th Street at Bowery
applicant’s name follow by current owner if applicable

Renewal with Complaint History
1. Double Wide, 505 E 12th St (op)
2. The Suffolk Bar, 107 Suffolk St (wb)
Sidewalk Café
3. ULURP N 130079 ECM: Preserve 24 (Aegis Holding Houston LLC), 175-177 E Houston St (enclosed sidewalk cafe)
Applications within Resolution Areas
4. To be Determined, 154 Ludlow St (op)
5. 154 Ludlow Bar LLC, 154 Ludlow St (op)
6. Café & Bar Racer LLC, 127 St Marks Pl (wb)
7. Cornerstone Café (AO Café & Restaurant LLC), 17 Ave B (op)
8. Pride and Joy (Pride and Joy BBQ LLC), 24 1st Ave (op)
9. Ludlow Hotel (Ludlow Hospitality), 180 Ludlow St (op)
10. Apartment 13 (115 Ave C LLC), 115 Ave C (op)

Life After Pathmark: Community Survey Available Online

Pathmark store, 227 Cherry Street.

As we have been reporting, the Cherry Street Pathmark store is on its last legs. Although it’s scheduled to close by the end of next month to make way for a big luxury residential project, the shelves are already pretty bare and the grocery is not being restocked.  Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, which played a major role in luring Pathmark to the Lower East Side years ago, is beginning to come up with a long-range plan to full a big gap in the neighborhood’s fresh food supply.  They have hired a consultant, James Johnson-Plett of Urbane Development, to help facilitate the planning process.  He’s overseeing a community survey to get a sense of shopping patterns, income levels and overall needs when it comes to retail food establishments.  That survey is available online here.  It takes about 5-7 minutes to fill out.


Cafe Petisco Seeks Full Liquor License

Cafe Petisco, 189 East Broadway.

Cafe Petisco, the Mediterranean-accented restaurant at 189 East Broadway, has applied for a full liquor license.  The popular neighborhood spot across from Seward Park already has a beer and wine permit, but next month the operators will ask Community Board 3 for an upgrade. The restaurant does a brisk breakfast, lunch and early dinner business, but is usually not very busy in the latter part of the evening.

Last summer, the owners of Eastwood, a bar opening soon at 221 East Broadway (a block east of Petisco) successfully won CB3 approval for a full liquor license in spite of opposition from some local residents and Primitive Christian Church.   The situation is a bit different this time around.  For one thing, Cafe Petisco is an established business, rather than a new venture.  Second, it’s a restaurant — not a bar.  We have a call into Petisco’s owners to find out more about their plans.


Melissa Aase Becomes University Settlement’s Executive Director; Michael Zisser Now CEO

Melissa Aase, University Settlement’s new executive director.

University Settlement has announced some changes in its management structure. Michael Zisser, executive director of one of the city’s oldest and largest social service organizations since 1988, becomes chief executive officer.  Melissa Aase, a longtime University Settlement manager, has been elevated to the role of executive director.  Aase began her career at the non-profit organization in 1992 as a student intern. She has been director of community development since 2003.

“The past few decades have been some of University Settlement’s most exciting,” said Zisser. “Our budget has grown by over 1000%, we’ve expanded to more than 550 staff and we now serve thousands more families at 21 sites throughout New York City… This new structure reflects the next step in our growth, and I can’t think of a stronger, more intelligent, passionate leader than Melissa Aase.”

Morning Reads: Chrystie Hotel Controversy, Cop Charged with Assault, Sandy vs. Katrina

  • In October we reported that the Sperone Westwater Gallery was opposing a new 25-story hotel project at 215 Chrystie Street.  Yesterday the Board of Standards and Appeals postponed deciding whether the project can move forward until next month.  Today the Wall Street Journal takes a look at the contentious issue (WSJ).
  • Besemah Rogers, an off duty NYPD sergeant, was charged with assault, after a dispute with a woman over luggage space on a Chinatown bus (Post).
  • A Bronx man is convicted of raping a woman in Soho in 2008 (Post).
  • Sheldon Silver says he’s confident the state ethics board will find he acted properly in dealing with the Vito Lopez harassment cases (Buffalo News).
  • The mayor makes his pitch in Washington today for federal aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (Post).
  • Comparing Sandy and Katrina – which storm was more impactful? (NYT)


Good Morning!

Coleman Park, under the Manhattan Bridge.

Look for a mix of clouds and sun today with a high of 43.

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LES Bites: Craft Beer Festival, L’Apicio on 1st Street, Dorie Greenspan Makes Friends

Our roundup of Lower East Side restaurant/food news:

  • The New York Craft Beer Festival will be taking place Saturday at Basketball City (Pier 36).  They’ll be holding a Sandy supplies relief drive.  More info here.
  • The Local EV reports: the Mile End outpost on Bond Street is once again serving smoked meats.  Their Red Hook production facility was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.
  • Adam Platt of New York Magazine reviews L’Apicio, the new pasta-centric restaurant from Gabe Stulman and Joe Campanale on East 1st Street.
  • EV Grieve hears that St. Mark’s Place sushi spot Natori is closing.
  • We didn’t get around to posting this one last week, so here it goes; Serious Eats tours the Essex Street Market with its newest vendor Dorie Greenspan.