171 East Broadway.
Here’s some more information about a story we included in our “Morning Reads” today concerning a possible kosher restaurant coming to 171 East Broadway, the former home of “Broadway East.” A trade publication, “Kosher Today” reported that real estate developer Michael Bolla is trying to open up a new vegetarian kosher spot in the location. A short time ago, we spoke with Ron Castellano, who closed vegetarian-centric Broadway East about three years ago and operated a pop-up concept from the restaurant for a time. He’s spent the last several months renovating the space.
Castellano, who partnered with Bolla on the neighboring Forward Building condo conversion, said a few different proposals are being considered. Bolla has a desire to open a kosher restaurant but different concepts from other potential partners are on the table, as well. Back in the day, there was a kosher-style (it wasn’t endorsed by a rabbi) vegetarian restaurant called Schildkraut’s at 171 East Broadway, so there’s quite a history in this spot.
Castellano, an architect as well as nightlife operator, has been taking his time revamping the interior, installing a wood-burning oven among other improvements. Last spring, Bolla said he intended to open a judaica shop on the Lower East Side, but those plans fizzled. Bolla is an Orthodox Jew. He’s involved in the development and marketing of the Madison Jackson residential building.
BGSQD owners Donnie Jochum and Greg Newton with author Edmund White. Photo by Lee Brozgol.
Editor’s note: BGSQD, the pop-up queer bookstore on Orchard Street, announced yesterday that it’s extending its stay at the Strange Loop Gallery until the end of March. Recently, we stopped by the space to have a talk with the co-owners, who are trying to establish a permanent location on the Lower East Side. This story originally appeared in the February issue of The Lo-Down’s print magazine.
In today’s world of vanishing brick-and-mortar bookstores, it’s a pleasant surprise to see a new one open in the neighborhood, even if it’s only in a pop-up space for the moment. The Bureau of General Services-Queer Division (BGSQD) is a new bookstore, gallery and event space founded by partners Greg Newton and Donnie Jochum. The bookstore is unique by default — there actually aren’t any “gay bookstores” devoted solely to the LGBT community left in Manhattan — but it also has the feel of a special, forward-thinking space.
It has been well over a year since the team behind the LowLine, the proposed public green space beneath Delancey Street, went public. In that time, they have held countless informational sessions and fundraisers, met one-on-one with many groups, staged a high profile demonstration project in the Essex Street Market and generated a huge amount of media coverage. But in spite of these efforts, co-creators Dan Barasch and James Ramsey know there’s a long road ahead if they are to succeed in transforming an abandoned rail station. City and state officials in a position to move the project from the “cool idea” to “real-life project” phase have yet to come on board. Even within the Lower East Side community, where the LowLine has been met with a lot of enthusiasm, Barasch and Ramsey have some work to do. It’s in this spirit, that they’ll be appearing tonight before Community Board 3’s land use committee.
In the past several weeks, they have been circulating a “preliminary vision and planning study,” detailing how the underground facility might be used, how it would be financed and what the impact could potentially be on the surrounding area. This evening they’ll share some of the study’s fine points with CB3, which voted last June to “officially support” the LowLine project. It would be an overstatement to say opposition to the Delancey Underground concept is now emerging, but in a community board meeting late last year, there were signs of new skepticism from some land use committee members. Since that meeting, various activists have hinted that they’re concerned about the potential of the LowLine to be an agent of gentrification. Recently, we sat down with Barasch to talk about that specific issue.
Rivington Street. Photo by Bahram Foroughi.
We’ll see more snow showers off and on today and continuing through the night, with a high of 33.
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