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New LES Cacti Store Meets All Your Cactus Needs

A cult LA cacti store now has a location in New York — at least for the season. So, while the sun shines, check out Cactus Store’s Lower East Side popup site and admire its collection of exotic cacti — which run anywhere from $30 to $4,000, if you’re interested in taking one home and making it your own.

Most of the cacti on display are rare, including a few that are part of a private collection and not for sale. All the plants were shipped from California, but drawn from across the world, especially South America and the American southwest. “True cacti,” as distinguished from related flora, are always from the New World, explained manager Han Wang.

Cactus Store’s collection includes several “mutations” — cacti that have grown into strange shapes — and “grafts,” where two plants fuse together and one plant draws its water and nutrients from the other.

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A Visit to DeKalb Market Hall, the Heathen Food Orgy and New Home of Katz’s

I like food; I dislike crowds. So it was with mixed feelings that I descended the escalator into DeKalb Market Hall, the Albee Square food-court-on-steroids that opened today in downtown Brooklyn.

I arrived on the earlier side of the lunch rush – actually right at the stroke of noon, when civilized people like myself take luncheon – but the market was already bustling with people eager to sample from some of the 40-odd food vendors.

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Free (Yep, Free) Midnight Screenings Coming to the Relaunched Roxy Cinema

Roxy Cinema. Credit: Roxy Hotel.

Tribeca’s Roxy Hotel has re-launched its much-loved cellar theater Roxy Cinema with new concessions and a big slate of summer programming — including free midnight screenings and events with indie acts like TV Baby and Beach Fossils.

The cinema, which specializes in “first-run, independent, classic, art-house and foreign film, both played on digital and 35mm,” is one of the few locations in New York where you can enjoy good beer, wine, and even champagne during a movie. Cocktails are also reportedly on the way. They’re also beefing up their snacks-and-candy concessions.

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At the NY Asian Film Festival, There’ll Be Retro Japanese Softcore Porn and So Much More

Credit: NYAFF17.

Cinephiles, take note: the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) opens June 30, and this year’s roster has just been announced. With “just shy of 60 films,” including feature films and documentaries from seven countries, there’s a diverse lineup of films in every genre, from gangster flicks to romantic dramas to experimental stream-of-consciousness softcore porn. Truly, something for everyone.

China and Hong Kong are particularly well-represented, with a slate of popcorn-friendly thrillers, dramas, and crime flicks. Battle of Memories (2017, dir. Leste Chen) follows a novelist who wakes from an experimental medical procedure to discover he has acquired the memories of a serial killer. In Blood of Youth (2016), directed by “self-trained fireman-turned-filmmaker Yang Shupeng,” police and criminals alike race to hunt down a computer hacker.

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Inside the Historic Building That’s Quietly Home to Disgraced Televangelist Trinity Broadcasting

TBN’s building at 111 E. 15th St., near Union Square.

Spreading the word of God has been extremely lucrative for Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), the world’s largest Christian broadcasting company. The organization’s late founders, evangelical power couple Paul and Jan Crouch, were renowned for extravagant lifestyles notably lacking in Christian asceticism or self-denial – his-and-hers mega-mansions in Newport Beach, chauffeured Bentleys, and $57 million in private jets. Jan maintained an air-conditioned trailer just for her snow-white Maltese dogs.

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Industry City Beefs Up With Another Restaurant, This One With Shuffleboard

Pool and shuffleboard on offering. Photo credit: Industry City.

Vincent Chirico, the chef and serial restaurateur behind Coarse in the West Village and Vai on the Upper West Side, opened a new restaurant today in Sunset Park’s Industry City. We got some photos and a copy of the menu.

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‘Catholic Anarchist’ Dorothy Day Returns to the East Village Via an Art Show

Dorothy Day sculpture. (Photos: Oliver Conroy)

“We need to change the system. We need to overthrow, not the government, as the authorities are always accusing the Communists [of conspiring to do], but this rotten, decadent, putrid industrial capitalist system which breeds such suffering in the whited sepulcher of New York.”

So spoke Dorothy Day – “Catholic anarchist” and founder of the radical Catholic Worker, still published seven times a year at Maryhouse in the East Village. Day, an activist and writer who became the godmother of the religious-left “Catholic worker” movement, died in 1980, but her legacy lives on in the form of the East 3rd Street soup kitchen she founded to minister to the poor and homeless of the East Village and Lower East Side.

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$13 Million Synagogue Sale Threatened by Power Struggle of Biblical Proportions

The Home of the Sages property on Bialystoker Place. Photograph: J. Oliver Conroy.

A new lawsuit is only the latest sign of an epic power struggle within the Home of the Sages of Israel, a tiny Lower East Side synagogue. The house of worship’s nondescript and rundown building on Bialystoker Place has become the subject of a ferocious real estate battle between different factions, each claiming to be the synagogue’s lawful representative.

In a suit filed two weeks ago – only the latest in a mounting pile of litigation – members of the Orthodox Jewish synagogue’s small congregation allege that Rabbi Samuel Aschkenazi, “who despite his title, is not the rabbi for Home of the Sages,” is attempting to sell the property out from under them to real estate developer Peter Fine – and then split the $13 million profit with Friends of Mosdot Goor, a Gerer Hasidic group unconnected to the synagogue.

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Visit a Bodega Where Every Item is Made of Felt. Yes.

Credit: www.sewyoursoul.com

Have you ever fantasized about visiting a bodega where every sale item is an exact replica made of felt? No? Either way, as on June 5, you’ll now have the opportunity.

For your consideration: Next week British artist Lucy Sparrow will unveil her newest art installation– a 1,200-square-foot space she has conjured into an “immersive, fully stocked felt convenience store.” The store will contain 8,000 purchasable items, all made of felt. Snickers bar? Felt. Pack of Marlboros? Felt. Liter of milk? Felt. Bodega cat? Felt, probably.

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Coney Island’s New Vintage Pinball Arcade Is Ready to Roll

The Mystic Machine

Photo credit: Norman Blake

Last week we shared the news that the Coney Island Museum is expanding with a new (playable) pinball exhibition. We’ve obtained more details about the pinball gallery, which had its soft opening yesterday.

“We had machines in the bar being played nonstop,” said Dick Zigun, founder of Coney Island USA and “unofficial mayor” of Coney Island.

Not all the machines are installed yet; by this coming weekend everything should officially be in place.

There are going to be 10 pinball machines – six in the Coney Island Museum storefront and another three or four in the Freak Bar in the lobby of the nearby Arts Center.

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The Mermaid Parade Has Been Saved, and Coney Island Museum Is Adding a Pinball Wing

Mermaids at last year's parade.

At last year’s Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

The Mermaid Parade, Coney Island’s annual crowd-pleaser and glitter-industry Black Friday, is back on solid financial footing — and not a moment too soon — thanks to an unexpected deus ex machina: the intervention of two generous private donations supplementing an ongoing crowdfunding campaign.

Despite the recent news that Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie fame will raise their scepters as this year’s Queen Mermaid and King Neptune, the Parade had been struggling. A “Feed the Mermaids” crowdfunding campaign to save the parade has so far raised $9,000, far short of its $50,000 goal.

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