“Lower East Side, not for sale!” “Chinatown, not for sale!” These were the chants on the streets of Chinatown two weeks ago, when protesters, huddled under umbrellas, marched to City Hall to demand the prevention of the 80-story tower currently planned for the East River waterfront. With more luxury apartments on the rise and the commercial landscape following suit, anxiety over the rapid gentrification of the Lower East Side is intensifying.
Alexander Olch definitely has his hands full these days: in addition to opening an art-house cinema on Ludlow Street, the designer just moved his Orchard Street clothing store a couple doors down. It reopened on the corner of Canal Street yesterday.
Ryan McGinley’s seventh opening at Team Gallery was just like all the others: at any given moment, there were just as many people on Grand Street as in the gallery – a fact that did not go unnoticed by the uniformed and undercover cops who rolled by to tell the mob of downtown scenesters to clear the sidewalk and bike lane.
“Where are you, de Blasio?” That was the question of the afternoon when rain-soaked protesters braved the weather at City Hall to protest rezoning that they claim has led to racism and displacement within their community. According to the organizers of the rally, The Coalition to Protect Chinatown & The Lower East Side, Mayor Bill de Blasio told them earlier in the day Wednesday that a representative from his office would come out to address them, but no one showed up. It could have been the rain that kept the nameless flack away, but try telling that to 75 wet, angry people struggling to keep their umbrellas from turning inside out. The next stop, they say, will be Gracie Mansion.
Kyo Pang, co-owner of the newly opened Kopitiam on Canal Street in Chinatown, is pulling off the rare and improbable. With remarkable concentration, she pours steaming Malaysian tea, teh tarik, from one aluminum pot to the other, lifting her hands above her head to extend the stream of tea. This is what is called “pulled tea” in Malaysia, which is something of a lost art in the Malaysian community in New York.
As its name implies, it takes some effort to discover the new storefront of Lower East Side’s enigmatic purveyors with panache, The Hunt. Framed under an electronics store sign belonging to an old tenant, The Hunt’s cryptic entrance acts as a sort of portal into the world contained within – part store, part museum – where the line between old and new is a bit uncertain.
The folks at Films in Tompkins are once again bringing a big screen to Tompkins Square Park this year. This year, series founder Darin Rubell (owner of Forrest Point and Boulton & Watt) has tapped some celebs to pick the flicks. Tonight James Franco has selected Chinatown, preceded by the “post-hipster smooth jazz” of Todd Gaynor. Hopefully he’ll bust out his smokin’ sax cover of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So.”
“Gates” open at 6 p.m., movies starting at sundown.
While we’ve been packing our picnic baskets for SummerScreen, Rooftop Films, Nitehawk’s Summer Series, Films on the Green, and the films at Socrates Sculpture Park, one of our favorite outdoor movie series has remained relatively mum about its plans. But the folks behind Films in Tompkins recently wrote in to tell us that, yes, they’re once again bringing a big screen to Tompkins Square Park this year. Not only that, but in the spirt of Greta Gerwig’s forthcoming film fest in Rockaway, series founder Darin Rubell (owner of Forrest Point and Boulton & Watt) has tapped some celebs to pick the flicks.
Federico García Lorca once again achieved Poet in New York status when a mural depicting the Spanish literary lion went up in Bushwick a couple of years ago. Now he’s returned to Manhattan, where he studied at Columbia in 1929 and penned “Sleepless City: Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne.” The poem is quoted in this new mural by Spanish artist Raúl Ruiz and Brooklyn’s own Cern.
The commanding officer of the Ninth Precinct called on East Village residents to be on the lookout for a “pattern assault perpetrator” who has attacked four Asian women over the past week in a series of apparent bias crimes, striking them with a bag “containing a hard object.”
“This is obviously a perpetrator that we want to get off the street,” Deputy Inspector Peter Venice told a gathering of locals at the East Fifth Street stationhouse last night during the last meeting of its community council before the summer break. He asked them to contact the police tip line if they see a person of interest. The c.o. gave no description of the suspect, who is said to be a slender man thought to be in his 20s. But he noted there were posters up in the neighborhood and recommended watching television reports for additional information.
“We’re strategically hitting landlords who’ve been displacing thousands of tenants every year,” said Brandon Kielbasa, lead organizer at Cooper Square Committee, a tenant rights organization running since 1959.
Just in time for summer, Chinatown got a new bubble tea parlor via Formosa Cafe, on Eldridge Street. Actually, this one is less of a parlor and more of a slick lounge, complete with pleather seating, wifi, and Shepard Fairy-esque art on the walls. If you’re in a rush for slush, check out the photo below and read on for the menu.