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Photo: On Rivington Street, where the former Rivington House nursing home is being transformed by Mount Sinai into a behavioral health center.

In the news:

–Extell has reportedly snatched up 259 Clinton St. in the Two Bridges area for $40 million from Starrett Corp. Starrett had already broken ground on the 60-story, 706 unit project. Extell apparently got a bargain, since the site was rumored to be for sale for at least $60 million, and maybe more. “Slow sales have bedeviled a nearby Extell project, 1 Manhattan Square… Eight years after marketing began, the 80-story condominium has not sold out, despite several incentives…” At least one lawsuit is still pending to stop the mega-project and two other out-of-scale developments along the waterfront. [Crain’s]

–In the second half of 2021, condo sales slumped, as high interest rates began to impact the market. There were bright spots, however. “With 50 contracts, New Empire Real Estate’s boutique offering at 208 Delancey Street on the Lower East Side was a surprise seller. “ Kael Goodman of Marketproof, which tracks sales of new condos commented, “Despite its location pretty far on the east side, buyers were not deterred.” [The Real Deal]

–Chef King Phojanakong, who owned the Lower East Side restaurant, Kuma Inn, died just after the new year at the age of 54. He became ill after visiting the Philippines over the summer and was recently diagnosed with a rare infection of the nervous system and brain. If you ever trudged up the stairwell on Ludlow Street to Kuma Inn, you know it was a special experience. There was a big greeting from Phojanakong as soon as you arrived at the BYOB spot, where delicious small plates melded Filipino, Thai and Chinese flavors. Kuma Inn opened in 2003 and closed during the pandemic. [Grub Street]

–A crowdfunding campaign in support of King Phojanakong’s family has raised nearly $80,000. The goal is $250,000. [GoFundMe]

–74-year-old Josefa Bonet had four times the normal level of arsenic in her body when she died this past fall. After her death, Bonet’s doctor urged NYCHA to conduct arsenic tests at the Riis Houses, where she lived. As you may recall, there was an arsenic scare at the Riis Houses over the Labor Day weekend. Bonet was diagnosed with kidney disease and her doctor felt that more extensive tests were warranted. [The City]

–Democrats in Albany have decided against trying to expel Republican Assemblyman Lester Chang. He won a seat in Brooklyn, but there are questions about his primary residence. Is it Brooklyn or Lower Manhattan? [The New York Times]

–The Lo-Down interviewed Chang when he ran for the Lower Manhattan assembly seat in 2016. [The Lo-Down]

–In a two-star review, Pete Wells writes, “Corner Bar (in the swanky Nine Orchard hotel) is nobody’s idea of a cutting-edge restaurant… An expensive restaurant in a luxury hotel serving highly familiar American, French and Italian food sounds like the most predictable thing imaginable… Surprisingly, somewhat puzzlingly, this rule doesn’t apply at Corner Bar. Under Vincent D’Ambrosio, the chef de cuisine, the kitchen is making these routine classics as if the fate of the world depended on it. This is cooking of a very high order.” [The New York Times]

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Lower East Side Links

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