The city’s Department of Transportation is working with two local businesses and the Lower East Side Partnership to create seasonal seating and expanded bike parking on a section of Orchard Street. The proposal got a preliminary ok from Community Board 3’s transportation committee earlier this month.
You’ve seen the city’s “Street Seats” on other blocks. They came to the Essex Street Market a couple of years ago, as well as to Jefferson Street, adjacent to the restaurant, Le Enfants de Boheme. A combination of planters and tables and chairs are moved into place in former parking lanes. The seating is meant for the general public, not for any specific business, and no alcohol is allowed.
The owners of Cafe Katja and Dudley’s, two mainstays on the block between Grand and Broome streets, recently approached DOT about installing Street Seats in front of their businesses. They see it as a way of boosting pedestrian traffic, making the block more appealing and of cutting down on illegal bike parking.
About 7-8 parking spaces will be eliminated to make room for a combo seating/bike parking setup on Orchard Street, wrapping around to Broome (existing bike parking on Broome will be relocated). The seating will be available from March-December. The chairs and tables will be set up each morning and removed in the evening. The Partnership will be in charge of maintenance.
The full board will vote on the proposal next week.
This month, Dudley’s is going through the necessary steps to expand its own sidewalk cafe seating. Cafe Katja isn’t eligible for a sidewalk cafe because the sidewalk in front of 79 Orchard St. is raised a few inches off the ground.
Police are looking for two suspects who attacked a 22-year-old man outside the grocery store on the southeast corner of Orchard and Rivington streets this past weekend.
According to the Daily News, the attack followed a confrontation at about 4:15 a.m. on Sunday. The suspects knocked a paper bag out of the man’s hands. They then punched the victim in the face and slashed his arm with some kind of sharp object. The suspects took off north on Orchard Street. The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.
You can see the blurry surveillance stills released by cops yesterday (Gothamist published the video – see below). One of the suspects was wearing a dark jacket and dark pants. The other was wearing a white t-shirt, white pants and a dark baseball cap.
If you have information about this crime, call CrimeStoppers at (800) 577 TIPS.
UPDATE 4:03 p.m. DNA Info reported that police arrested one of the suspects today on Orchard Street, not far from where the attack happened. Cops had received a call about a man acting strangely. Upon arrival, they found 22-year-old John Rivera. He was carrying knife. Rivera was arrested for disorderly conduct. Police later charged him with assault in connection with last week’s incident.
Belraf Fabrics will be closing its Orchard Street store on June 30 after 33 years on the Lower East Side, and the owners are offering bargain prices until then.
Once upon a time, of course, there was a slew of fabric stores on Orchard Street, but only a handful remain, and Belraf Fabrics is the latest to close up shop.
The owners, Bella and Raf, moved to the Lower East Side four decades ago from Uzbekistan. After about five years selling women’s sportswear at flea markets around the city, the couple decided to upgrade. During a recent visit to the store, Raf talked about their beginnings as neighborhood shop owners. There was an “old man” who owned a fabric store at 112 Stanton St., and Raf offered to buy it from him. At first the store owner’s message was clear: “It’s not for sale.” But eventually he was ready to sell, so Bella and Raf took over in 1983, renaming the store Belraf – a combination of their first names.
In the beginning, Bella and Raf would buy leftover fabric from now-legendary fashion brands – Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Donna Karan – and sell to LES residents and smaller-name designers. One of their early customers was a young woman named Camella Ehlke, who in 1989 founded iconic streetwear brand Triple 5 Soul at 151 Ludlow St. – half a block away from Belraf Fabrics.
In 2008, after 25 years on Stanton, Belraf’s lease was up and they faced a rent increase from $5,000 a month to $20,000. That’s when they moved to their current location at 159 Orchard St.
Their current lease expires at the end of June and the rent will likely go up once again, but Raf says they’re also ready for retirement. Most of the designers they used to buy excess fabric from have moved their manufacturing overseas. “I can’t get my leftovers,” which makes it harder to give people bargains, Raf said. “It’s no fun anymore.”
They’re having a “going out of business sale” until June 30 with discounts up to 90 percent. The store is open Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and is also open on weekends.
Friday, October 30, 2015 | Here’s a look at Orchard Street, just above Delancey Street; That’s JR’s “Ellis” exhibition you see outside 130 Orchard St. (details here) | Weather: Sunny skies today with a high of 60 | Mostly sunny and 56 tomorrow. Cloudy and 65 on Sunday | Happening This Weekend: It’ll be a two-day Halloween fest, of course! A neighborhood roundup is coming up later today | Send us your photos and tips | Subscribe to our daily newsletter.
Friday, July 10, 2015 | Here’s a look at INDIE OneEightFour’s new mural on Orchard Street at Broome Street | Weather: Some clouds this morning with sunny skies in the afternoon and a high of 86. Sunny and 88 tomorrow. Mostly sunny on Sunday with a high of 91 | Happening Today: New York celebrates the victorious women’s World Cup soccer team with a parade beginning at 11 a.m. in Battery Park | Send us your photos and tips | Subscribe to our daily newsletter.
Friday, May 8, 2015 | Here was the scene last night before Moscot’s music event on Orchard Street | Weather: Sunny today with a high of 77. Cloudy tomorrow and 71. Sunday we’ll see a mix of sun and clouds and a high of 83 | Happening Today: LES History Month continues with an open mic/storytelling event featuring longtime neighborhood activists Frances Goldin, Paul Rios and Fly; Downtown Art, 61 East 4th St., 7 p.m. | Send us your photos and tips | Subscribe to our daily email.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015 | David Sierra took this photo of Orchard Street signage | Weather: Happy Earth Day. Partly cloudy this morning with showers developing in the afternoon and a high of 65 | Happening Today: Community Board 3’s transportation committee considers the return of Fung Wah Bus Company plus another operator to 139 Canal St., Seward Park Extension Community Room, 56 Essex St., 6:30 p.m. | Send us your photos and tips | Subscribe to our daily email.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 | David Sierra took this photo on Orchard Street | Weather: Cloudy skies this morning with rain developing in the afternoon and a high of 48 | Send us your photos and tips | Subscribe to our daily email.
Here’s a quick reminder about tonight’s workshop to solicit feedback from businesses and residents about a master plan for Orchard Street. It’ll include a 16-foot 3D model to help facilitate a discussion about traffic flow, streetscape design and safety. The Lower East Side BID event begins at 6:30 p.m. You can read the whole story here.