Gas Line Fails at Seward Park Co-op Building; More Than 400 Apartments Affected

Hundreds of residents of the Seward Park Cooperative will be eating out for awhile.  This afternoon a gas line failed in one of four buildings (383-387 Grand St.), meaning people living in more than 400 apartments will not be able to use their stove tops or ovens for an extended period.

Seward Park Co-op Goes Green, Replacing Con Ed Steam With Its Own Boilers

The Seward Park Cooperative, one of the largest residential complexes on the Lower East Side, has shifted from using Con Ed steam to its own environmentally-friendly boilers for heat and hot water. 

7-Eleven Execs Meet with Grand Street Residents

Last night, 7-Eleven corporate executives came face-to-face with Lower East Side residents, some of whom were previously determined to keep the ubiquitous convenience store from moving into a storefront at 403 Grand St.  They received a mixed reception. 

Kosher Bakery Closes For Good at 363 Grand St.; 7-Eleven Plans Progressing

363 Grand St.

363 Grand St.

More change is coming to a stretch of Grand Street east of Essex.  Yesterday was the last day in business for the East Broadway Kosher Bakery, which was located (don’t ask!) at 363 Grand Street.  The owner told us her lease was up and she just couldn’t afford the rent.

The storefront is owned by the Seward Park Co-op and is right next door to Shalom Chai Pizza, a kosher restaurant that remains closed after being shut down by the health department a couple of weeks ago.   Frank Durant, the co-op’s general manager said, generally speaking, there’s been a lot of interest lately in the Grand Street retail spaces (which are located right across from the Seward Park development site).  This particular storefront is small, so it presents some leasing challenges, he said.

A Swarm of Bees on Grand Street!

Photos by Joey R.

Imagine looking out the window and seeing something like this – a swarm of bees clinging to the window. A resident of the Seward Park Co-op on Grand Street noticed the swarm yesterday afternoon and called the co-op’s maintenance department.  The situation was taken care of promptly, as you can see from the photos after the jump. Thanks to Joey R. for these pictures.

Seward Park Co-op Board Approves 7-Eleven Lease

403 Grand Street.

Last night, the Seward Park Co-op board of directors voted to approve a lease for 7-Eleven, clearing the way for the ubiquitous chain  to open a new location at 403 Grand Street.

The board was poised to vote for 7-Eleven this past May, but a group of residents protested the move, prevailing upon their leadership to hold off while a search for alternative tenants was launched. The group contacted dozens of prospects and managed to find a business, Tribeca Pediatrics, for a neighboring storefront that was originally destined to become a Dunkin’ Donuts.

But for a variety of reasons none of the potential tenants for the larger space, once occupied by the Grand Spa, were accepted by the board.  Among the complications: “no compete” clauses embedded in the leases of some existing tenants.

Residents Urge Seward Park Board to Reject 7-Eleven

403 Grand Street.

The residents of the Seward Park Cooperative are getting riled up again! As we reported the other day, the co-op board is re-considering a proposal from 7-Eleven to take over a large space once occupied by the Grand Spa at 403 Grand Street.

When the plan first became public in the spring, residents mobilized, organized a petition drive and began searching for alternative tenants. They managed to find a business, Tribeca Pediatrics, for a smaller storefront, but for one reason or another none of the prospects (including a small grocery store) has panned out for the larger space. In advance of tomorrow night’s board of directors meeting in which the 7-Eleven offer is once again on the table, residents are making their voices heard.

Tribeca Pediatrics Signs Lease at 409 Grand Street

409 Grand Street, the former home of Roots & Vines.

In the past several months, there has been no shortage of speculation and debate about what should become of two empty storefronts on Grand Street, east of Essex.  Now there’s at least a partial answer.  Tribeca Pediatrics, which has offices across the city, will be moving into the space formerly occupied by the Roots & Vines coffee shop at 403 Grand Street.  Leslie Pennypacker, Tribeca Pediatrics’ manager, confirmed yesterday that there’s now a signed lease.

Controversy erupted last spring when the co-op board decided to lease the space to a Dunkin’ Donuts and to sign a long-term agreement with 7-Eleven for a larger space in the same retail strip.  Residents launched a petition drive against the chain stores, prompting the board to back away from the deals. They then proceeded to search out other tenants.  A leader of the group, Auguste Olson, told us yesterday she’s thrilled that families living in the co-op, as well as in the surrounding neighborhood, will have a great new resource for high quality medical care. “It really shows that when we come together we can really make things happen,” she said.

Scenes from the Set of “Dead Man Down”

The cast and crew of the crime thriller “Dead Man Down” worked all afternoon in the athletic courts of Seward Park High School along Essex Street at Grand Street. Star Colin Farrell is on the bench.

When the action movie Dead Man Down is released next April, Lower East Side residents will recognize plenty of the scenery. The film, starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace, shot scenes along Essex Street and on the grounds of the Seward Park Co-op yesterday and today; more taping is set for other parts of the LES the rest of this week.

This afternoon, the basketball courts and track that belong to the Seward Park High School were the scene for a shot involving Farrell sitting on an imported park bench with a large box next to him while two little girls played nearby and two young boys kicked a soccer ball back and forth. Fabco Shoes of Delancey Street made an assist, when a member of the costume crew made a run for a new pair of pink tie-up sneakers for one of the girls to wear in the scene.

Costumers swapped out one extra’s slip-ons for a new pair of pink lace-ups from Fabco Shoes on Delancey Street; the script apparently called for her to tie her shoes during the scene.

Judging by the lights set up on the roof of commercial buildings owned by the Seward Park Co-op along Grand Street, it looks like filming will continue after dark tonight. Click through for more pictures.

Neighbors Debate the Merits of Proposed East Broadway Bar

221 East Broadway.

As we noted earlier this week,  the owner of 221 East Broadway has spent the last few years renovating the six-story residential and commercial building.  Two years ago, a coffee shop (Dora – later renamed Pushcart Coffee) opened; just a few weeks ago a second upscale business, Malt & Mold, debuted in a neighboring storefront.  And within the past several days, the operators of a bar on Avenue B signed a lease for a prime corner spot, where they plan to open a neighborhood watering hole.

Seward Park Board Backs Away From 7-Eleven, Dunkin’ Donuts Leases

7-Eleven has its eye on the Grand Spa space at 403 Grand Street.

As we indicated yesterday, the board of the Seward Park Cooperative met last night to discuss whether to lease two retail spaces it owns to 7-Eleven and Dunkin’ Donuts.   A group of residents and other members of the community mobilized to oppose the looming decision, forcing the board to reconsider.  During the meeting, they decided to hold off for the time being on renting the spaces to the large chain outlets.  The residents, who launched an online petition, have been speaking with other businesses, some of them small/independent retailers, about coming to Seward Park. The board and the co-op’s management company, Charles H. Greenthal Co., will look at other prospective tenants before making any leasing decisions.

 

More on the Grand Street Chain Store Debate

7-Eleven has its eye on the Grand Spa location, at 403 Grand Street.

Here’s an update on the great chain store brouhaha on Grand Street. A week ago, residents of the sprawling Seward Park Cooperative began circulating an online petition to stop their board from signing leases with 7-Eleven and a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee. Tonight, board members will meet to discuss the situation, which (in typical fashion) has divided the shareholders of the large housing complex east of Essex Street.

Frank Durant, Seward Park’s general manager, declined to comment until the board makes up its mind. Eric Mandelbaum, the president of the board, has not responded to an interview request.   A new board member, John Ryan, told us in a statement he is “not a fan of having chain stores in our commercial spaces” but since the co-op is “potentially writing off several hundred thousand dollars annually from non-paying commercial tenants” all options (including the possibility of leasing to chain outlets) needed to be considered.

Seward Park Co-op Residents Protest Potential Chain Stores

Roots & Vines, 409 Grand St., shuttered last month. It may be destined for rebirth as a Dunkin’ Donuts.

Rumors circulating among Grand Street residents about the possibility of two corporate chains moving into commercial storefronts owned by the Seward Park Co-op are generating a wave of backlash and an online petition in opposition.

Word on the street this weekend was that the Grand Spa at 403 Grand St. and the recently shuttered Roots & Vines cafe three doors down would be converted to a 24-hour 7-Eleven convenience store and a Dunkin’ Donuts, respectively.

This morning, protesters launched a drive to collect signatures; as of 2:15 p.m. they had gathered 91 supporters.

Manhole Cover Explosion: Power Cut to Hundreds at Seward Park Co-op (Updated 12:17p.m.)

Con Ed workers on the scene this morning at the Seward Park Co-op, on Clinton Street.

More now on the overnight explosion at the Seward Park Cooperative.  We just spoke with William Lozada, the building superintendent, and Denis Kitson, assistant general manager.  They say an explosion at 2:27 a.m. on Clinton Street caused a manhole cover to be blown off.   All six cables in a Con Ed service box were destroyed.  Thy say the cover shot about 20 feet up in the air, breaking a tree branch before landing in the grass behind a fence. No one was injured.

Building 3 of the sprawling complex (208-212 East Broadway) lost power. Building staff went door-to-door advising residents about the situation. Emergency lights are now on and, Lozada said, elevators are working. Con Ed is hoping to restore temporary service by 11 a.m. and make full repairs sometime in the afternoon. Numerous teams are working on Clinton Street, between Grand Street and East Broadway.

There’s no word as of yet what caused the explosion.

UPDATE 11:28 a.m. We received a call from Con Ed’s press relations office. Contrary to what we were told by the Seward Park building superintendent, a representative at Con Ed, Bob McGee, told us the power in the co-ops went out at 5:35am and was restored at 6:40am.  He said the crews in the trucks at the location (in the photos above) are working on repairs to the cable that was burned in the manhole.  They are not working on restoring power, as it was restored earlier this morning.

UPDATE 12:17 p.m. The plot thickens. We just heard from Julie, a resident of the Seward Park building impacted by this morning’s explosion.  She says the lights flickered for around a half hour following the big boom before going out completely.  Julie reports the ower has not been restored. There are lights in the hallways and stairwells and the elevators are working.  There is running water but no hot water.

UPDATE 2:48 p.m. Seward Park Co-op reports that full power has been restored.

More photos after the jump.

My LES: Marijke Briggs

Marijke Briggs, in East River Park, near the Williamsburg Bridge.

 

This weekly feature spotlights a wide variety of people who live and work on the Lower East Side. If you know someone you would like to suggest be featured in “My LES,” please email us here.

 

What do you do?
I am a full time art educator in a Southern Westchester K-12 public school.  I also work with local non-profits and charitable organizations through my company, Marijke Briggs Consulting. These organizations include: Little Missionary’s Day Nursery (the oldest continuously running non-sectarian nursery school in NY), The Lily Fund, Inc. (Dedicated to Bringing Hope and Happiness to Children with Brain Tumors), and CF on the LES (a Great Strides team raising money to fund medical research for Cystic Fibrosis).