Lower East Side BID Holds Expansion Meetings Today

Orchard Street.

For the past couple of years, the Lower East Side Business Improvement District has been planning a major expansion of its boundaries beyond the Orchard Street corridor that has been the organization’s focus in the past two decades.  That process takes an important step forward this month, as the BID is now moving forward with the official approval process.  Two public meetings (a requirement of the application) are scheduled today in which BID leadership will detail the plans for property owners, business owners and local residents. Both meetings take place at the DL, 95 Delancey Street (at Ludlow).  The daytime session begins at noon; the second meeting takes place at 5 p.m.

Roughly speaking, the new boundaries extend from Bowery on the west, Clinton Street on the east, Division Street on the south and East Houston Street on the north.   Today’s presentations will include more details about the borders; the map has changed somewhat in the past several months.  Not every block within the area described above is included.

LES BID Debuts Video Series Profiling “DayLife” Participants

Last month we told you about “DayLife,” a community street festival coming to Orchard Street June 3rd. The event, being produced by the LES Business Improvement District, is meant to “reactivate” one of the world’s legendary shopping districts. Today the BID is kicking off a series of video interviews with “DayLife” participants.

Posted above is the debut video — which features the guys behind Feltraiger, the new men’s boutique on Allen Street (they recently dressed Justin Bieber for his new video).  Head over to YouTube and you can see a second piece on Orchard Street consignment shop MissInna.

The BID will have more profiles in the days ahead. You can check them out from their Facebook page or the DayLife events page.


Shop Local on the LES This Sunday

We had the story last week — but the weekend is upon us — so here’s a reminder about the LES “Shop Local” holiday event coming up on Sunday. The Lower East Side BID has been working with more than 45 stores, restaurants and galleries to offer all sorts of discounts and freebies. Plus, they’re setting up something called the “Holiday Oasis Lounge” in the Mark Miller Gallery at 92 Orchard. There will be complimentary gift wrapping, free Blue Bottle coffee (courtesy of Lost Weekend), free Hint® Water, free back massages and gift bags with goodies from Bikram Yoga, Earnest Sewn, Kaight, Lisa Fiorentino Hair & Vintage, MastihaShop and Roni-Sue’s Chocolates. For more information, check out the BID’s web site.

Lower East Side BID Advances Plan to Widen Pedestrian Waiting Areas on Delancey Street

Delancey Street, at the Clinton Street crosswalk.

A couple of weeks ago, we reported that local elected officials, community activists and city agencies had formed a “working group” to discuss what to do about Delancey Street, the Lower East Side’s most dangerous thoroughfare. Most everyone involved agreed that a lot could be gained if all of the neighborhood’s stakeholders were able to sit around the table on a monthly basis, coordinating their efforts and comparing notes.

Recently, the team at the LES Business Improvement District (which is participating in the working group) briefed us on a plan they’ve been developing to make Delancey a bit more hospitable to pedestrians.  In a previous story, we noted that the Transportation Department expects people to cross the street in two sections.  That’s right. You’re supposed to seek refuge in the center island, waiting for a second green light, rather than trying to get all the way across at one time.

Sunday on the LES with Sheldon Silver

Sheldon Silver blows the shofar at the booth operated by Chabad of the Lower East Side.

Yesterday we posted a bunch of photos from New York City Apple Day.  Now, a few more scenes from the festivities on Orchard Street, featuring Lower East Side VIP Sheldon Silver, the Speaker of the New York State Assembly.

It was a busy day for the Speaker on Sunday. In addition to Apple Day, he visited several other events, including the Hester Street Fair, the LES Ecology Center’s E-Recycling Day and the Chinatown Society’s Mid-Autumn Festival.

NYC Apple Day Coming Up Sunday

Photo: LES BID.

Here’s a reminder that NYC Apple Day is coming up this Sunday on, where else, Orchard Street. This year, the event features an all-new apple pie eating contest.  Some of the nation’s most feared competitive eaters will be taking part, along with a slate of amateurs (there’s still room for one more amateur contestant).  We hear Mike “Hambone Little” of Lost Weekend NYC, will be one of the amateur competitors.

There will also be lots of food, music and entertainment for visitors of all ages. Henry Street Settlement, the Tenement Museum, the LES Ecology Center, the New Museum, Chabad of the LES and the Mark Miller Gallery will all be represented.

Apple Day, sponsored by the LES Business Improvement District, takes place between 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m., between Broome and Grand streets. Check out the full list of food vendors after the jump.

LES BID Releases Fall Gallery Map & Guide

This just in! The LES Business Improvement District is out with its updated gallery map and guide. These days — at the rate art galleries are opening in the neighborhood — it isn’t easy to keep track of the comings and goings.  You can click on the map and the complete list of galleries here. A printed version will be released next month.


Pie Eating Contest the Main Event at Next Month’s NYC Apple Day

In the world of competitive eating, this guy, “Munchin” Mike Longo, is not to be messed with! He holds world titles for consuming truly impressive/disgusting quantities of hamburgers, pizza, chicken wings, meatballs and, yes, even latkes! So it goes without saying that he’ll be the man to beat when the first ever National Pie Eating Championship comes to the Lower East Side next month.

Last week, the LES Business Improvement District announced its Fourth Annual Apple Day street fair will be held September 18th.  Now All Pro Eating Promotions (www.competitiveeaters.com) is out with a very entertaining press release on the pie eating portion of the event.  An excerpt:

Todd “The Hungry Genius” Greenwald, chairman of All Pro Eating Promotions, commented, “I cannot think of a better location or a more suitable event than Apple Day where a new National Apple Pie Eating Champion will receive the honors presented to them. After the pie crust settles in The Big Apple on September 18th, and the new National Apple Pie eating record is announced, the Lower East Side of New York will loudly proclaim that this neighborhood has always been as American as apple pie and that this historic location should be the apple of every American’s eye!”

Lower East Side BID Rings Opening Bell on Wall Street

A half hour ago, the team at the Lower East Side Business Improvement District rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. There’s Mark Miller, BID president, in the center. Executive Director Bob Zuckerman and Marketing Director Tim Lemberger are right behind him.  Whoa! Hard to miss the huge “LES” logos in triplicate. Nice product placement, guys!


Lower East Side BID Responds to Crain’s Retail Story

Over the weekend, Crain’s New York published a story suggesting that all is not well on the Lower East Side when it comes to the viability of fashion-centric shopping destinations.  The LES Business Improvement District is out with a response. Here it is:

The Lower East Side Business Improvement District (LES BID) is extremely disappointed that Crain’s did not reach out to us for its story on the LES retail scene (“Lower East Side’s fashion faux pas,” June 20) to provide information for a more balanced and informed story.

Undoubtedly, some retailers in almost every New York City neighborhood are struggling; however, Crain’s focused on a single retailer that happened to be located on the Lower East Side, out of more than one thousand. Scores of LES businesses have survived the recession, and many retailers are flourishing, such as Any Old Iron, Kaight, James Coviello and By Robert James, just to name a few. Moreover, commercial vacancies in the neighborhood have dropped by 14 percent in the last year alone, pointing to the LES as a much sought after retail hub.

Mark Miller Prepares for Wednesday Reopening

Kevin Berlin (L), Mark Miller (R) prepare to open

This week the Mark Miller Gallery will be celebrating two big events: the American debut of “Double Happiness,” the striking exhibition from renowned artist Kevin Berlin, and the reopening of the Orchard Street gallery after a two-year transformation. We stopped by last week to talk with Miller and Berlin, as they were rushing to prepare for a preview show for the YoungArts Presidential Scholars.

Silver, Squadron, Chin Attend Seward Park Info Fair

Shelly greets woman

On a cold and rainy evening, the Lower East Side's key political leaders and representatives from many of the neighborhood's non-profit organizations descended on a meeting room at the Seward Park Co-op last night for a neighborhood information fair. 

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Margaret Chin, the Democratic nominee for City Council, all made appearances at the event, sponsored by the Seward Park Co-op, but open to the public.