About Daniel Maurer

Daniel Maurer is the editor of Bedford + Bowery and a Visiting Assistant Professor at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. You can reach him at editor(at)bedfordandbowery.com.

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When Amiri Baraka Was LeRoi Jones, 'King of the Lower East Side'

The day of his play 'The Toilet' debuted at the St. Marks Playhouse (Second Ave & 8th Street), December 13, 1964. (Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images)

The day of his play ‘The Toilet’ debuted at the St. Marks Playhouse (Second Ave & 8th Street), December 13, 1964. (Photo by Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images)

Amiri Baraka may have been a “son of Newark,” but in between his birth there in 1934 and his death there yesterday following post-surgery complications, he was once described as a “king of the Lower East Side.” It’s where Baraka began a career as a music writer; broke out as an acclaimed, controversial playwright; and came into his own as a tenacious advocate of African-American equality.

In 1957, Baraka was going by his birth name when he moved into a $28-a-month, three-room cold-water walk-up on East Third Street, off of First Avenue. “This was before the Lower East Side became fashionable,” he wrote in The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones. “It was then just outside of the Village, the romantic center.”
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Beards are Everywhere; LES Pier Closer to $92 Million Revamp

Pixote on Houston, times two

(Photo: Scott Lynch)

Beards have gone mainstream, argues Alex Williams. That’s right: the “L-train look” is now appearing on “corner-office types.” [NY Times]

Speaking of the L train, at a meeting with the MTA, Stuy Town residents complained about overcrowding at the First Avenue station. [Town & Village]

The $92 million redevelopment of Pier 42 got a Community Board 3 subcommittee’s approval. Check out renderings that show the Lower East Side waterfront getting a bike path, lawns, a playground, waterfront marshes, an educational estuarine park, and more. [Curbed]
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7A Closes Jan. 26; Liquiteria Will Replace Gray's Papaya

(Photo: Photo: Carmen E. Lopez and AJ Wilhelm)

(Photo: Photo: Carmen E. Lopez and AJ Wilhelm)

There’s more to report today about the loss of two corner institutions: a manager at 7A confirms the rumor that the East Village all-nighter will close, and gives January 26 as the last day. According to the person we spoke to, who didn’t want to be named, business has been getting slower and slower in the last two and a half years, they’ve been in the red for some time and the owner wants to retire.
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Video of Suspect in Stark Killing; Condo Prices Way Up in BK

Allied Hardware

(Photo: Scott Lynch)

New video shows the suspect in the killing of Williamsburg developer Menachem Stark. It’s believed Stark had been shadowed for two weeks. [NY Post]

Remembering Gray’s Papaya: “Gray’s was a place you always thought was going to be there.” [Flaming Pablum]

At the heart of a judge’s ruling against NYU’s expansion yesterday is green space inadvertently created by an expressway that Robert Moses was prevented from building. [NY Times]
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Doggone! Gray’s Papaya Has Closed

And now both Mike and Gray's are gone.

And now both Mike and Gray’s are gone.

This is a hard one to swallow.

Gray’s Papaya has shuttered its Sixth Avenue store. After a tipster saw the hot doggery being dismantled, Eater confirmed the closure with an employee at the uptown location who “was unsure if it was done for good, or just shuttered for a revamp.”
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Judge Thwarts NYU Expansion; Ferry Could Get More Stops

Looking festive, DUMBO dog shrine

(Photo: Scott Lynch)

A State Supreme Court judge has blocked about half of NYU’s Greenwich Village expansion plan, saying that the city unlawfully turned over park land without first getting approval from the State Legislature. But the school says it can still move forward with the first tower, which could be as tall as 26 stories. [NY Times]

The New York City Economic Development Corporation has recommended 11 new ferry stops, including Grand Street in Manhattan. [DNA Info]

Apartments in a converted church on North 6th may hit the market soon. [Brownstoner]
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Rumors Fly in Menachem Stark Case; Bill Murray Melted Hearts in Williamsburg

Allied Hardware

(Photo: Scott Lynch)

Police now say Menachem Stark was squashed to death. “It might be that they sat on him to get him under control and that they wound up killing him that way,” a police source tells the Daily News. [NY Daily News]

According to the Post’s sources, Stark’s business partner told police they owed money to characters who could be involved in the killing. [NY Post]

Meanwhile, rumors are flying in South Williamsburg: “One rumor had it that Mr. Stark had told his wife in recent weeks that he was being followed by men in a car. Another held that Mr. Stark had borrowed $500,000 from a mysterious, unidentified lender the day of his kidnapping.” [NY Times]
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