Sierre Leone Refugee All Stars.
The City Parks Foundation has released new details about the Two Boots 25th Anniversary Concert, taking place next month at the East River Bandshell. The August 23rd event, the high point of the restaurant’s year-long celebration, is part of SummerStage. The concert will feature the African pop band — the Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars.
Carlos Pinto's mural celebrating LES poet Bimbo Rivas.
Two Boots started as a fun, family style restaurant on the Lower East Side, back in the days when these kinds of places were rare. As a kid, I was friends with Leon, the son of owners Doris and Phil Hartman. The restaurant became a refuge, where I was able to stuff my face with delicious, spicy thin crust pizza. I remember spreading my crayons and coloring books over the glittering tables — those smooth surfaces housed artful collages full of old record sleeves and Mardi Gras beads.
This year, Two Boots celebrates its 25th birthday, with 25 events in and around the Lower East Side, a “thank you” to the neighborhood that helped make its early success possible.
Kicking off the festivities at the Avenue A shop last week was a packed unveiling of a new mosaic mural by artist Carlos Pinto, celebrating the great LES poet Bimbo Rivas. It was his 1974 paean to the Lower East Side that originated the term “Loisaida,” an enduring part of the local dialect.
In spite of the rather uninviting drop-down gate and ever present scaffolding, there are some new signs of life at the former home of Two Boots Tavern. In May, Two Boots owner Phil Hartman called it quits but announced a restaurant featuring “reasonably priced food from New Mexico” would be taking over the space.
It’s been rumored for awhile on the local message boards. Now here’s the confirmation: the Two Boots location on Grand Street is shutting down, after toughing it out for three years.