As you may have heard, the city’s proposed (and controversial) $250 million, 21-story retail and tech center off of Union Square moved forward last week. Council Member Carlina Rivera was key to the City Council’s unanimous vote, as her district will be most severely impacted by the so-called “Tech Hub.” During last year’s election, Rivera had even campaigned in part on the tech center, proposed for the site of the former PC Richard & Son at 120 East 14th Street. In a previous hearing on it, Rivera had said that without additional zoning protections south of 14th Street for local tenants and assurances that the building would indeed serve low-income earners, immigrants and residents of color—including tuition scholarships for tech training—that her vote was “seriously in question.”
First there was Fresh Kills, and now—right across the street—there’s Kill Devil. When it comes to ambitious cocktail bars, Williamsburg is killing it.
Kill Devil House of Dark Spirits takes its name from an old euphemism for rum, and it’s dead serious about the liquor. It offers a list of some 125 sipping rums from all over the world, and many of its cocktails employ it. You might assume this place is just riding the tiki trend, but you won’t find any thatch or bamboo in the onetime bank building at the corner of Grand and Bedford. Instead, the former Witlof space has gotten a dark, slightly devilish makeover.
It’s been over two years since wildly popular Greenpoint pizzaiolo Paulie Giannone– better known as Paulie Gee— announced that he was planning to open a slice joint. After some fussjng from neighbors and the usual delays, there was no sign of its opening– except, of course, for the barrage of taunting Instagram shots showing some delicious-looking experiments with vegan thin-crust slices, baguette sandwiches, pan pizza squares, “OG” grandma slices, Sicilian slices, and, of course, the classic “NYC-style” slice. Now, the time has finally come. Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop has announced a grand opening of Aug. 29.
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Zach Neil had a pretty sweet idea: “I wanted to find a way to do something with cake and ice cream and elaborate toppings and I wanted to make it make it vegan as well.”
He did some Googling and came across Black Tap’s immensely popular, decadent (and non-vegan) cake batter milkshake, the Cake Shake. Neil’s new shop, which fully opened in the East Village last week, is called Cakeshake. But it isn’t a mere Black Tap knockoff. “Essentially, we wanted a place where anyone could go and order this over-the-top Instagrammable shake that is also sensitive to lifestyle and [is plant-based],” he tells Bedford + Bowery.
Over the top indeed: Following up on the edible gold trend that seems to have swept New Yorkers into a fervid consumption of metallic substances (gold-plated chicken wings, anyone?), Cakeshake is offering an appropriately named #blingbomb shake, whose golden and silver sparkles practically blind the viewer and mask the mountain of mini cupcakes and vegan ice cream that lies underneath.
Neil embarked on his vegan shake voyage about a year and a half ago, when he started trending toward a more plant-based diet, but realized that eating that way outside of major cities was a real challenge. And not just for him, but his daughters, too. “I have two daughters who have a sweet tooth. I’ve taken them on my journey on veganism. I wanted [options] that were healthier and plant-based,” Neil told us. Then the idea dawned on him: why not vegan milk shakes, with some gluten-free options and maple bacon-topped treats (ask for the “Elvis”) for the carnivores as well. Neil pitched the idea to his friend (and now the store’s executive chef), Felix Castro, who loved the idea. With the help of co-owner Tim O’Grady, Cakeshake was born.
Most of the shakes range from $10-$15. There’s a 100% vegan #popmocha shake that comes packed with tres leches ice cream, espresso reduction, hand-made caramel corn, and whipped cream in a smorgasburg they call “plant-based heaven.” Other notable options include a vegan avocolada shake, which is their take on a piña colada, except with the very millennial addition of avocado to the usual pineapple. They’re constantly experimenting with new flavors, so you’ll just have to visit in person to see their latest menu. Note: kids under the age of 12 get a free drink with purchase of an adult shake, so this is one family-friendly joint. Bring a friend to share.
Cakeshake is located at 514 East 6th street, and is open from 2 pm-10 p.m. every weekday.
Sure, you can beat the heat by buying cubed watermelon at the bodega, but that’s so basic. Here’s how to get your watermelon fix and be extra.
Ladle soju punch from a watermelon
At Pocha 32, 15 W 32nd St # 2, Koreatown.
Pocha 32, a second-floor pub hidden away in Koreatown, would be worth the trip even if it didn’t use hollowed-out watermelons as punch bowls. Notes written on chopstick wrappers hang from the fishnet that covers the walls and ceiling, and oil drums serve as tables. It’s a festive place for dipping a ladle into a watermelon and helping yourself to a frothy mixture of ice, soju, Sprite, and fruit puree. This is a lot of drank even for two people to share, but you can always sneak the leftovers into the Vivi lightbulb jar below.
Yesterday we reported that national retailer Toms is opening a store and cafe off of Bedford Avenue. Turns out that an even chainier chain is opening up right around the corner. Sephora has made it official and unveiled signage indicating it’ll open a store at 241 Bedford, right next to the Apple Store, this fall.
Needless to say, they won’t be opening a tacky megastore like you’d find in Times Square. Much like Starbucks snuck onto N 7th and Bedford with its “Reserve” concept, Sephora will open a Sephora Studio, a smaller store offering “a more curated experience.”
In 2013, when Dunkin’ Donuts opened on Bedford, it registered a 6.3 on our Outrage-o-Meter. But here we are in 2018– when a Happy Socks outlet is also poised to open next to the Dr Martins on Bedford— and nobody has lamented that CB I Hate Perfume, the experimental Williamsburg perfumer that made a scent inspired by Alan Cumming, has moved to New Jersey while Sephora is making itself right at home in prime W’burg. All the opposite:
Actually, as you can see below, residents have been downright lobbying for a Sephora since as far back as 2011. Does nobody miss the time when beer burps from the Charleston was the only scent wafting onto Bedford Avenue?
Ribbons spanning all the colors of the rainbow hung from the gray walkway and black fences enclosing the trees perched in front of the salmon-pink Rivington House, a former public school that re-opened in the 1990s to assist individuals with HIV and AIDS. Scrawled on the ribbons in black marker were phrases and stories in support of the Rivington House in English, Chinese and Spanish. Each ribbon was dedicated to a specific bed number at Rivington House in honor of the individuals that the center served over the past two decades.
The posters around Williamsburg mimicked an ad campaign for Old Blue Last, the beer launched by Vice in 2016. But instead of advertising “Beer for Drinking” they touted Old Blue Fart: Beer for Farting. And they directed passersby to Vice’s nearby offices for a free can. Which isn’t as crazy as it sounds; the stuff is on tap there. But let’s clear the air: Vice hadn’t caught wind of the posters, so its employees had no idea over 100 people were going to show up on Monday, looking to get a buzz on.
Eight protestors were arrested after a sit-in at Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan office this morning during a demonstration that climate change activists held to pressure the governor to sign a pledge to promise not to take campaign donations from the fossil fuel industry.
The Denizen Bushwick, an eight-story luxury rental building on the site of the former Rheingold Brewery, has finally opened one of its buildings, consisting of 444 units ranging from $2,000 studios to two-bedrooms exceeding $4,000. The inspiration for the controversial project reportedly stemmed from the idea of a European village, but in reality, the Denizen Bushwick resembles more of a glitzy, almost overwhelming megalopolis that is unlike anything else in the neighborhood.
After popping up on Bedford Avenue last year, altruistic shoe brand Toms is opening a permanent shop in Williamsburg. The new store and cafe will open in the fall at 160 N. 4th Street, just down the block from where international clothing brands Levis, G-Star and Scotch & Soda have also set up shop.
Over a year after hitting the market at $35,000 per month (it’s now asking about $27,000), the retail space in the former Amato Opera House building finally has a tenant. Just not a human one.
The animatronic wastrel you see in the window of 319 Bowery is an “activation” (read: advertisement) for Burrow, a company that’s trying to do for couches what Casper does for mattresses (or, for that matter, what Joybird does for couches). Clearly, Burrow’s founders, a couple of Wharton grads, are hoping the so-called Lord of Leisure becomes neighborhood lore along the lines of Zoltar, over on Second Avenue. But when we texted the brand’s name to a phone number as instructed, his response was a little underwhelming.