Members of the bike messenger community came together in Tompkins Square Park on Friday to mark the naming of a bench for bike messenger and photographer ‘Fast’ Eddie Williams. Friends featured in his 2004 photo book ‘Bike Messengers Life – New York City‘ joined Eddie’s son Nagi, daughter Koko and dozens of working messengers for the service. The beautiful weather allowed for a fitting sun set over the bench that sits opposite the big tree on the south side of the park, a longtime gathering spot for New York bike messengers.
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Three of Cups co-owner Anthony Barile closed the doors to his restaurant for good late Sunday night due to unsustainability after 26 years in the East Village. The Italian eatery opened in 1992 with a pizza style developed by Barile’s partner Santo Fazio who also co-owns Fazio’s of Bushwick. Fazio crafted his recipe when he was pizza chef for Two Boots and it reflects the style of his northern Sicilian roots. Barile worked with both of them in his younger days and their influence on his food is something he doesn’t shy away from mentioning.
Williamsburg brunch spot Lodge closed Monday night after over 14 years in the heart of the neighborhood. Co-owned by Dan Cipriani, who also runs nearby Urban Rustic and Bushwick’s Seawolf, Lodge could “no longer compete with the astronomical rent in Williamsburg,” it said on its Instagram. “We’ve been pushed out.”
Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra shook the historic floor of Chelsea’s Norwood Club during his eighth annual Sweetheart Soiree this past Saturday. After we bid Michael farewell at the close of his Jazz Age Lawn Party last August, he invited us this Valentine’s season to see Norwood Club’s five floors of classic decadence. Many in attendance embraced the soiree’s roaring-twenties mise-en-scene
Michael’s orchestra held court against the tall windows of the main parlor at the Norwood, a private club opened in 2007 in what had been the landmarked Norwood House, a fully intact Chelsea mansion. The dancers on the floor had gotten lessons from jazz choreographer Roddy Caravella, whose group The Canarsie Warblers are a Jazz Age Lawn Party highlight.
As the soiree’s guests went up the townhouse stairs, they found a second floor where winding tables gave couples plenty of places to canoodle. Ascending further to the red-lit third-floor parlor, they were stopped in their tracks by the wrought vocals of Queen Esther.
For those in the mood to toast their valentine with champagne, an intimate room at the top of the mansion served little bottles of bubbly to go along with the soft strings of flamenco guitarist Maria Benjumeda.
Michael’s full orchestra won’t be taking the stage again until his first Lawn Party on the weekend of June 16, but in the meantime you can catch his small ensemble every Wednesday night from 8:30pm to 11pm at the Clover Club in Carroll Gardens. During a recent visit, I saw Michael’s friends dancing along the bar. Their footwork was phenomenal considering the quaint space and low light.
Beloved bar Red Hook Bait and Tackle said farewell to its tight-knit family with a party that raged well after the cops came, as advertised. Owner Barry O’Meara, who’s closing the bar after 14 years due to the neighborhood’s “different financial demographics,” hosted an all-day affair that started with a chili cook-off, continued with a full concert and ended with a dance party where locals mixed their sweat and tears till the doors finally shut for good at 6am.
Bizarre Bushwick celebrated its fifth anniversary last Saturday with an eight-hour performance marathon that spanned its entire repertoire. Venue co-owners Jean-Stephane Sauvaire and Greg Baubeau welcomed longtime performers Madam Vivian V, Lee Valone, Darlinda Just Darlinda and countless others for a night that literally went out in a ball of flames. The thrills were true to Bizarre Bushwick’s motto of “assorted madness and the unexpected.”
Bar Matchless closed last night and it stayed crowded till the very end. All of hipsterdom from the realms of musicians, DJs, artists and those with 9-to-5 jobs came to celebrate what was for many the Ellis Island of Williamsburg. Owner Erik Green made a last call at 3:30am and it took another hour to empty the place out.
Barflies of every drinking age said their goodbyes to Grassroots Tavern last month and kept the East Village dive busy right up till its final day on New Year’s Eve. During the time I spent there during its last days, it was never empty. Even in the early afternoon, people just off from work or school, along with curious tourists, finished off pitchers and munched on dollar bowls of popcorn.
This New Year’s Eve/Day, I visited 18 parties, many in venues whose windows had been steamed up by crowds in no hurry to head back home through the cold. The condensation could be seen early on as I visited the farewell parties for downtown’s Noho Star and Grassroots Tavern and continued as Claptone rang in 2018 at Bang On! NYC’s Time and Space warehouse party.
Here’s how it all went, hour by hour. If you’re looking for signs of unity as we turn the page on 2017, you may find them in these group portraits.