Reminder: Help For Small Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Tomorrow

As noted earlier in the week (click the link for info), there’s a workshop tomorrow morning to help small businesses struggling to bounce back after Hurricane sandy. There’s a similar workshop being held in the afternoon in Chinatown. See above for details.


New Museum Hosts IDEAS CITY Open House Tonight

Last year’s Festival of Ideas, via the New Museum.

Our friends at the New Museum are inviting local artists and organizations to come to their open house for the 2013 IDEAS CITY Festival (formerly known at the Festival of Ideas for the New City) on Monday, November 12th, from 6 – 8pm. The program will include an introduction the event and project presentations by half a dozen participants.

They write: The theme for IDEAS CITY 2013 is Untapped Capital. As the world’s resources continue to be endangered, depleted, and destroyed, we all need to imagine new solutions and develop innovative approaches and practices. Rather than focusing on deficits, IDEAS CITY 2013 will encourage intensive examination of surplus resources that may be under- recognized or underutilized: Untapped Capital.

The invitation and application to participate in the festival can be found here.

If you are interested in attending the open house, make sure you send your required RSVP to:


Help Hurricane Sandy Pets

A caravan of pet food deliveries will head to the hardest hit areas recovering from Sandy this weekend. Photo courtesy of Instinct Dog Behavior and Training.

While the Lower East Side continues to rise to its feet in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, neighborhoods that bore the more vicious brunt of the storm are still struggling to provide basic services and sustenance to their residents. This weekend, The Lo-Down is helping to sponsor a pet food drive to those areas where governmental and nonprofit organizations are leading the efforts for human aid but have few initiatives for pets. LES residents can drop off pet items (list below) on Saturday, Nov. 10, at Ruff Club, 34 Ave. A in the East Village, from noon to 3 p.m. Uptown, Instinct Dog Behavior and Training is accepting donations at 1795 Lexington Ave. in East Harlem, also from noon to 3 p.m.

The effort is backed by Bayou Rescue, a North Carolina-based national nonprofit founded during Hurricane Katrina to provide assistance to companion animals and their families during disasters. Tax-deductible financial donations to help purchase supplies for this weekend’s drive can be made online here.

Click through to read the full press release.  

Peck Slip Pickle Festival Goes On as Planned Sunday

Hurricane Sandy battered the historic Seaport area, flooding many shops and restaurants, and displacing a lot of residents.   On Sunday, the neighborhood will receive a much-needed boost when the Peck Slip Pickle Festival goes on as planned at the New Amsterdam Market.

Last night, we talked with Robert LaValva, the founder of the market, about the tough times being experienced by local businesses, and about this weekend’s event.  On November 4, the New Amsterdam Market sponsored a volunteer day; 250 people came out to assist the Seaport neighborhood with recovery efforts.

LaValva said he sees the Pickle Festival as a great opportunity to support the community. “We felt it was even more important to go ahead with the Pickle Festival now” than before the storm hit, he said.  LaValva added that some of the vendors taking part on Sunday were scheduled to be involved in the Lower East Side’s pickle festival, which was cancelled due to the hurricane.   The Peck Slip event, which is still evolving, is envisioned as an international showcase, celebrating not only Eastern European pickling traditions but those of other cultures as well.  On Sunday, for example, Chinese and Persian pickle purveyors will be represented.

Power Still Out at Knickerbocker Village; Situation Called an “Emergency”

The situation at Knickerbocker Village, the historic affordable housing complex on Monroe Street, is growing increasingly serious today.  As we reported yesterday, many of the 1600 or so apartments still have no electric power, heat or hot water.  An electrical fire that followed Con Ed’s restoration of power Friday is the culprit.  Hamilton Madison House, a non-profit with close ties to Knickerbocker Village, set up daytime shelter at 50 Madison Street (in the Smith Houses), and local elected officials have been working to supply blankets and hot meals.

This morning we spoke with Hamilton Madison House’s Vicki Mehmel, who’s coordinating efforts on behalf of the apartment building’s residents.  She said engineers have restored partial power to four of 12 buildings.  They were hoping to have the entire east side of the complex online by the end of the week, but hopes are fading that it will happen.  Mehmel said it’s possible the west side of Knickerbocker Village will be without power for up to three weeks (we’re working on confirming this).  The problem, she said, is that there’s still up to 25 feet of water in the mechanical and boiler rooms.

Morning Reads: Many Buildings Still Lack Heat, Price Gouging Probe, Lady Gaga Gives $1 Million

  • 30% of the city’s public housing developments are still without heat (WSJ).
  • The blackout continues at Haven Plaza on East 12th Street (Post).
  • GOLES goes door to door at Masaryk Towers and other buildings still lacking heat (The Local EV).
  • The state Attorney General steps up his investigation of Hurricane Sandy price gouging (Post).
  • Lady Gaga donated $1 million to the Red Cross (E Online).


Local Elected Officials Update Hurricane Recovery Efforts

Sheldon Silver and Margaret Chin at Confucius Plaza last week.

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy has been a hectic time for the Lower East Side’s elected officials, who have served as a link between government and relief agencies and the neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan.

Yesterday morning Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver met with representatives of the mayor’s office to give them an assessment of the “various needs of downtown buildings.”   His office also distributed blankets to the Smith Houses, the NEST+m school and the Educational Alliance. Tuesday he was on site at Knickerbocker Village, which is still partially without electricity, to deliver hot meals to weary residents.

State Senator Daniel Squadron, who has been a ubiquitous presence in the neighborhood for the past week, also arranged for blanket deliveries at Knickerbocker Village and at the public housing developments on Pitt Street yesterday.

And last night, City Council member Margaret Chin sent out an update to constituents, detailing her efforts on behalf of Lower Manhattan residents.  Noting that many buildings still lack heat and hot water, the letter said, Chin is “working hard to encourage Con Ed to expedite their work, and Con Ed has been working around the clock to pump out electrical vaults of individual buildings.”  Chin’s letter included a resource list with lots of useful information.  We’ve posted some of the info in the past week, but it can’t hurt to get it out there as much as possible.  Squadron has been regularly updating a similar resource page. You can find it here.

Good Morning!

New York City Snow - Lower East Side - Delancey Street

Delancey Street. Photo by Vivienne Gucwa/

The snow is pretty much over, although we could see a few flurries this morning. It will stay cloudy today, and winds will gust to 20 mph.  Look for a high of 46 today, and warming into the 60’s for the weekend.