Holidays 2012: Keeping it Local on the LES

New York subway token necklaces by Erika Weiner.

We continue our holiday guide today — a look at ways you can help support Lower East Side merchants, restaurants and non-profits this holiday season.  Remember your suggestions are welcome at

  • The guys at the Low Line (aka the Delancey Underground) has set up an e-store in support of their holiday fundraising drive.  Among the items being offered: artist Erika Weiner’s New York Transit token necklaces (available here). There are two sizes; the smaller version (with the iconic cut-out “Y”) was introduced in 1953, when a subway ride cost 15 cents.  Today you can buy the necklace for $60 and help the Low Line, that park envisioned below delancey Street, become a reality.
  • Made Her Think, 195 Chrystie, is marking down jewelry this Friday and Saturday. See details here.
  • Prohibition Bakery, the relatively new liquored-up dessert emporium at 9 Clinton Street, is offering new holiday creations.  How about hot buttered rum (brown butter, rum, brown sugar) or mulled wine (mulling spices, red wine, pear brandy) for your next seasonal party?
  • You can make it a better holiday season for people in Henry Street Settlement’s shelters by taking part in their “Dear Santa” letters program. Here’s how.
  • Chabad of the Lower East Side will be hosting its annual menorah lighting event this coming Saturday. The “Grand Chanukah Celebration takes place at 6:30 p.m. at Delancey and Suffolk streets.  There will be latkes for everyone!


Liquor License News: Freemans Expands, More Karaoke, Another Orchard Street Bar

Onside K-One, the karaoke club at 97 Bowery.

More details are rolling in concerning the applicants going before Community Board 3’s liquor licensing board next Monday.  Documents posted on CB3’s web site show:

  • Andy Lee wants to expand his K-One karaoke bar to the fourth floor of 97 Bowery.   The liquor license would be extended to seven private karaoke lounges in the growing club.  The new space would be open until 4 a.m. seven days a week.  There are already 12 rooms listed on the bar’s web site; we’ll have to see how many total rooms the owners plan to add.
  • Taavo Somer and Kent Kilroe of the Freemans empire plan to take over 8 Rivington Street, the former home of “The National.”  Based on diagrams submitted to the board, it looks like they want to expand Freemans Sporting Club (their upscale men’s clothing store) into the ground-floor space and add a bar with small plates and appetizers on the lower level.  The lounge would be open 4 p.m. to 4 a.m.  In the past, a few very vocal neighbors have showed up to oppose Somer’s expansion plans for his flagship restaurant in Freemans Alley, just around the corner from 8 Rivington.
  • And the team behind Midtown bar, “Redemption,” on 2nd Avenue, is looking to take over a vacant space at 138 Orchard Street.  They’re seeking a full bar, 4 p.m.-4 a.m. hours and say they’ll be serving “American” food. This place would be on the same block as Lucky Jack’s.

More to come…




Jazz Luminaries Perform Tonight in Support of LES Live Music Venue

For many years, the New York arts community has been lamenting the state of experimental music on the Lower East Side.  Take a look at the chart posted above tracking he demise since the 1970’s of live performance spaces for cutting edge music in this neighborhood.  Tonight, Arts for Art (the organization behind the Vision Festival) is doing something about it.

To support the creation of a new music venue in the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, they’re holding a benefit featuring a pretty incredible lineup up of performers.  The event gets started at 7:15 with D.J. Spooky. Artists taking the stage throughout the evening include: John Zorn, Henry Grimes, Christian McBride, Roy Campbell, Milford Graves, Joe Lavano, Marshall Allen and many more.

Tickets are $45. Click here to order, or learn more about the event on the Arts for Art web site.


LES Shops, Restaurants Offer Holiday Deals Tonight

A more detailed version of an event we mentioned yesterday… the Lower East Side BID’s holiday shopping extravaganza.  Shops and galleries will be staying open late, and along with LES restaurants, they’re offering special deals, in-store entertainment and other perks.  “Shop More, Shop LES” takes place from 6-9 p.m. Click through to see the complete lineup.

Coming up Sunday: Hurricane Resource Fair & Community Conversation

National Guard troops on Grand Street following Hurricane Sandy.

This coming Sunday, State Senator Daniel Squadron is putting together a post-Sandy “Resource Fair & Community Conversation.” He describes it as a “one-stop-shop” for people still in need of assistance after the storm and a good opportunity for those who want to become involved in long term planning for future natural disasters.

Various government agencies will be represented, including: FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the NYC Dept. of Small Business Services,  the New York City Housing Authority, the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection and the NYC Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development.  Also on hand: officials from Con Ed and Verizon. Other local elected officials are helping to sponsor the forum.

You can RSVP by calling 212-298-5565 or you can register via this web link:  The event takes place Sunday from 3-6 p.m. at Murry Bergtraum High School, 411 Pearl Street.


Yo! Bus Begins Service From Pike Street Starting December 18

Pike Street between East Broadway and Division streets.

This morning Greyhound announced that its discount  Yo! Bus Service, offering service between New York and Chinatown, will begin operating December 18.  Last month, Community Board 3 approved an application from the company for a bus stop on the west side of Pike Street, between East Broadway and Division Street.  The Department of Transportation then made it official.

As you probably recall, the DOT was forced to back away from an earlier proposal to put the bus stop on Essex Street in front of Seward Park after residents, backed by elected officials, complained.  Last week, members of Asian Americans for Equality asked the board to postpone the decision on the latest application, citing the prospect of large crowds and congestion outside their offices (located just across the street).  But CB3 members said Greyhound had agreed to operating restrictions (crowd control agents, trash pick-up, anti-pollution devices) to alleviate the concerns.  It’s a nine month permit; the community board will have the opportunity to review Yo! operations in six months.

Morning Reads: Cuomo in D.C., Cooper Union Protest, Tiger Show is Tops

  • Governor Cuomo went to Washington yesterday in his quest for $42 billion in federal hurricane aid (NYT).
  • Federal investigators are looking into whether workers cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy had appropriate protective gear; it looks like most workers at the Lillian Wald Houses were properly prepared (WCBS).
  • Students take over a room at Cooper Union to protest possible tuition (NYT, EV Grieve, The Local).
  • Those caged tigers at the Ramiken Crucible gallery on Grand Street made Jerry Saltz’s list of 2012 art highlights (NYM).
  • Gary Weingarten of Rivington Street bar Verlaine is one of those featured in a story about the new DIY spirit of volunteerism (AM NY).


Good Morning!

Seward Park Library.

The rain is expected to continue until around 9 this morning, then cloudy skies for the rest of the day and a high of 61.

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