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Shakespeare in the Parking Lot Saved, Making For Some Dreamy Midsummer Nights

Performers from Shakespeare in the Parking Lot’s “Hamlet”, including Gracie Winchester as Ophelia and Jane Bradley as a female Hamlet (Photo posted on Instagram by Gracie Winchester)

Shakespearean tragedies don’t typically see a peaceful resolution, but it looks like there’ll be a happy ending for a drama that unfolded center stage at a Community Board 3 meeting last month.

There, Hamilton Clancy, artistic director of the non-profit that runs Shakespeare in the Parking Lot, bemoaned the potential loss of their performance space at the parking lot managed by the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center. His efforts to find a second home for the theater company in Sara D. Roosevelt Park had been met with bureaucratic red tape. All hope seemed to be lost.

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Popular Skate Spot at Columbus Park in Limbo Due to Renovation

An empty recreational facility at Columbus Park (Photos: Tara Yarlagadda)

At the intersection of Baxter and Worth Streets, adjacent Columbus Park’s basketball courts, some olive-green workout equipment and a fire-engine red jungle gym sit unused. Plastic sheets cover the workout equipment and the jungle gym lays barren, practically begging buff dudes in muscle tees to do some pull-ups. A sign on the cordoned-off fence surrounding the site reads “Work in Progress.” But during a recent visit there were no workers or construction materials in sight.

This closure also comes as the latest offense for frequent skateboarders of the park who feared “grave consequences” when a fence was erected between the fitness units and an adjacent basketball court earlier this summer, thus limiting skaters’ ability to crisscross the park. Previously, skateboarders would skate up or down a two block ledge between the fitness area and the basketball courts, making for some gnarly video footage. Since the late 1990s, Columbus Park been known as a sweet unauthorized spot for skaters to hang without getting booted by the Parks Department. Though that may all change post-renovation.

An empty recreational facility at Columbus Park (Photos: Tara Yarlagadda)

The outdoor recreational facility has been closed down as part of a multi-site renovation effort, which also includes Chelsea Playground, in Staten Island, and the handball courts at Booker T. Washington Playground, on the Upper West Side. Unfortunately, due to unexpected conditions found at Columbus Park, the reconstruction project has been delayed and a revised layout issued to handle problems with measuring the site.

Barring any further impediments, the Columbus Park fitness units will be re-opened at the end of the summer, but it’s a bummer for Lower East Side skateboarders who often frequent the park. According to Quartersnacks.com, local skateboarding legend Robert “Bobby” Puleo put the spot on the map when he nailed a manual going down a kinked ledge at a much-more downtrodden Columbus Park circa 2000. Its hallowed reputation only grew in the mid-late 2000s. If you were any sort of halfway decent New York skater, you were expected to pay your respects with a session at Columbus Park rail.

In any case, for the time being, may we recommend Slappy Sundays at Boca LES instead?

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Detroit-Inspired Pizza, Coney Dogs, and More New Restaurants

(Image courtesy Paradise Lounge via Instagram)

Between a bizarre amount of Detroit-inspired greasy goods and fish-shaped ice cream delights, we’ve compiled a lineup of new openings to keep you stuffed this entire weekend.

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Vote on East Village Tech Hub ‘Seriously in Question’ After Hearing

A sign held by an attendee of a hearing on the proposed Tech Hub (Photo: Tara Yarlagadda)

“Let us have peace”– the words of Ulysses S. Grant– hung high on the ceiling of the City Council’s austere chambers. But down below, at a hearing yesterday, a not-so-peaceful conflict brewed over a proposed $250 million, 21-story retail and tech center off of Union Square.

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Watch Out, Pizza Rat: Croissant Squirrel Hits the Town

(Detail of photo posted by Andrew Goldston on Twitter)

For some time, the lore of Pizza Rat reigned supreme over the subways and streets of Manhattan. But this morning, a truly worthy competitor strolled into town, ready to take the crown. Meet: Croissant Squirrel.

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Beloved Korean Chicken Joint Mono + Mono Returns Five Years After Fire

(Photos: Tara Yarlagadda)

After a five-year-plus hiatus, Mono + Mono is officially back in business starting tomorrow, July 10. The much-loved Korean fried chicken joint known for playing classic jazz closed down after a fire blazed though the building in 2013. There were a few times over the years when it seemed like it would re-emerge, only to no avail. But now it’s finally up and running, and has returned to occupy its old haunt on East 4th Street. Keep Reading »

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Swinging Like Hell With Grove Street Stompers, Oldest Jazz Gig in Town

The Grove Street Stompers perform at Arthur’s Tavern (Photos: Tara Yarlagadda)

It’s your typical Monday night at Arthur’s Tavern in Greenwich Village, an eclectic spot on Grove Street that’s been serving jazz fans since the speakeasy days of the 1930s. Portraits of jazz legends hang on the wall amidst Christmas lights and a faded Happy Halloween sign. It’s late June—in case you were wondering.

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Come for the Beach, Stay for the Brisket at Rockaway Beach BBQ

(Photo: RBQ on Instagram)

After a bit of a delay, Rockaway Beach BBQ (RBQ) is finally up and running in the site of the former Playland Motel, which was sold to investors in 2017. Officially opened earlier this week in time for the 4th of July, this offshoot brought to you by the team behind Swingbellys in Long Island is sure to whet any famished beach-goer’s appetite.

Two of RBQ’s business partners, Ryan Moroney and Jacob Marlin, are from the area. Marlin, who’s also the head chef of RBQ, spoke fondly about returning to his native roots. “Oh, it’s a great feeling. Between friends and family and the community board, everyone knows us.”

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Even MORE Hummus Among Us: VISH Opens On East 8th Street

(Photo Credit: VISH)

It’s been a hummus-filled week, folks. Alongside the arrival of Panorama near Union Square, vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant VISH Vegetarian Hummus opened up earlier this week on E. 8th Street in the heart of NYU’s campus community. Falafel-lovers’ favorite, Maoz Vegetarian, closed in the spring and left a pita-shaped void on the block. But since VISH is opening in the exact same spot, fans can rest easy.

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The Very Latest on the City’s Plan to Deal With the L-Pocalypse

(Photo courtesy of Buck Ennis)

Speaker Corey Johnson opened this week’s City Council hearing on the 15-month L-train shutdown with a dramatic flourish. He promised “dogged oversight” and suggested with a firm note in his voice that there better be a “hard stop” at the project’s anticipated completion date. As you’re probably aware, service is expected to be suspended for 15 months between Bedford Avenue and 8th Avenue starting in April 2019. Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation (DoT) and the MTA are working around the clock with new plans to ease the fretful minds of legislators and affected residents and commuters. Here’s the important stuff you need to know from this week’s hearing.

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Williamsburg’s Bar Beau Serves Coffee By Day, and Soon Cocktails By Night

Bar Beau (Photo: Claire Chan)

I know what you’re thinking: Does Brooklyn really need another café? But this is no ordinary coffee shop. Bar Beau, which opened on Monday, works overtime for it patrons, doubling as a coffee shop by day and trendy cocktail bar by night.

The coffee bar’s architecture also lends it an unusual appeal. Crisp lines of marble intersect with the ceiling’s plaster curves, evoking rocky cliffs and turbulent waters in an homage to the Pacific Northwest background of owner Claire Chan, who also operates the West Village café The Elk.  The cocktail-slash-cafe is named for her nephew, Beau. “My roots are PNW (Vancouver, Canada), so it was important for me to integrate that into this “home away from home,” says Chan.

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Politicians Call Out Airbnb as Mural Welcomes Guests to ‘Illegal Hotel Row’

A mural painted by local tenants in protest of Airbnb’s impact on their community. (Photo: Tara Yarlagadda)     

“Hey hey, ho ho, illegal hotels have got to go!” On a rainy Wednesday afternoon at the First Street Green Cultural Park, a dedicated group of 15 or so elected officials, activists and local residents sporting “Save the Lower East Side” T-shirts gathered to protest commercially operated, short-term rentals like VRBO and Airbnb.

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