In another installment of “the rent is too damn high,” Two Bridges residents are demanding that the city increase its oversight of the mega-towers coming to the Lower East Side waterfront, which are set to add thousands of luxury units to the lower-income and working-class community.
Does government surveillance really get your goat? (To be honest I have never really understood that expression but I am just going to run with it.) Is your ideal evening spent watching documentaries on the deep state? If so, then you’re in luck.
In a new film fest running today through Aug. 5 — ominously titled “Spy vs. Us” — the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) in the East Village takes on national security and the surveillance state. Even better, like last year’s MoRUS-sponsored film and theater festivals, this year’s festival screenings will occur in the lovely environs of several community gardens. Tonight’s opening screening takes place in the roof garden of Alphabet City’s fabled Umbrella House.
In his first book, Making Rent in Bed-Stuy (HarperCollins, 2017), New York-based writer and filmmaker Brandon Harris uses his memoir of “trying to make it in New York City” as the starting point for a complex, multi-layered discussion of race, class, and gentrification.
New Yorkers today learned some shocking news: beloved Cajun/Creole restaurant Great Jones Cafe will close tonight and may or may not reopen. Tipsters told EV Grieve that tonight would be the last night, but there’s reason to hope rumors of the 34-year-old Basquiat hangout’s death are greatly exaggerated. This evening, an employee at the Jones told Bedford + Bowery that it’s closing for a week; after that it will reopen — or not. More likely not, she said.
Messages left for owner James Moffett have not yet been returned. In April, the restaurant’s longtime GM, Bill Judkins, told EV Grieve that he was forced out when he couldn’t see eye to eye with his two partners, who “feel that the Jones needs to be changed into something more contemporary to appeal to the ‘new’ neighborhood.” The restaurant’s famous jukebox had been turned off, Judkins told Grieve.
In January of 2015, Judkins told Eater that the restaurant’s landlord was “a nice, old school guy,” and that there were still “a few years” left on the lease. Eater wrote that Judkins “doesn’t see things changing anytime soon, although he does admit to some ‘concern’ about what will happen in the future.”
We’re hoping the Noho fixture rises Lazarus-like from the dead. (I mean, where else can you get a proper oyster po boy around here? Served up by Pavement bassist Mark Ibold, no less.) But many are operating on the assumption that the restaurant won’t be coming back. They filed onto social media to pay their respects:
I’ve run the numbers and I’ve had 3 significant, 5 moderately significant and 10 uneventful nights at Great Jones Cafe. RIP pie & catfish.
— Sloane Crosley (@askanyone) July 26, 2017
R.I.P. Great Jones Cafè – I remember being served drinks by Pavement bassist Mark Ibold back in the day: https://t.co/c1DQpHxnJl
— Patrick Keane (@phkeane) July 26, 2017
I went to Great Jones Cafe the first week I moved to NYC because somebody told me Mark Ibold from Pavement bartended there.
— Jason Diamond (@imjasondiamond) July 26, 2017
— michael arthur (@inklines) July 26, 2017
Just found out that Great Jones Cafe AND the Village French Roast are closing so why even bother going to NYC anymore
— nicole steinberg (@nicolebrett) July 26, 2017
French Roast, Great Jones Cafe, & Republic are all closing. Soon NYC restaurants will be like flying – you’re either in 1st class or coach
— Christopher Shinn (@chris_shinn) July 26, 2017
Following on the heels of Whole Foods, Equinox, Flywheel, and other aspirational bourgeois health brands that have planted their flags in once-edgy Williamsburg, Lululemon today unveiled its first North Brooklyn location.
Last week we reported that LES/Chinatown stalwart Cup & Saucer — one of the last of the New York luncheonette old guard — is closing after more than three quarters of a century, thanks to a rent hike on its Canal Street location.
Although Bowery Boogie reported that today would be Cup & Saucer’s last day of operation, it already, as of this morning, appears to be closed forever. Phone calls to Cup & Saucer are going unanswered, and sources tell us the diner is dark.
People paid their respects on Instagram.
The owners told the New York Times that their rent was set to nearly double and that they may look for another space.
Cup & Saucer, a throwback luncheonette that has occupied the same quiet spot on Canal Street for more than 75 years, is likely closing, Bedford + Bowery has learned. The small but much-loved diner — whose iconic Coca-Cola sign and faded retro aesthetic hearken to an older era — is a staple of the Lower East Side/Chinatown neighborhood.
“Preservationist” has become something of a slur, used to denigrate the old-timers and neo-hippies who’d rather save ratty old tenant buildings and dusty mom-and-pop stores than make way for clean big-box stores with cheap stuff for everyone, and skyscraping mixed-use luxury complexes with their affordable housing pittance. It’s sorta like: C’mon, New York City is, by its nature, dynamic and changing. But the ever-faster pace of development and the lightyear rate of change have made for an urban landscape where transformation takes place exponentially and squeezes out the very people who have made this city vibrant and interesting in the first place.
Over the weekend, a slew of more than 40 local and visiting artists, as well as organizations like the Chinatown Art Brigade (a grassroots effort tackling the divisive issue of gallery-led gentrification in their neighborhood) demonstrated that preservation doesn’t have to be backward-looking.
Dozens of tenants and activists gathered blocks from the Tenement Museum on Thursday morning to protest what they claim are unsafe living conditions in two Lower East Side apartment buildings. A group of predominantly Chinese residents of 247 Broome Street and 135 Eldridge Street, many of whom live in rent-controlled units, complained of eviction threats, chronically ignored maintenance requests, shambolic common areas, and illegal construction in the buildings. The residents claim that R.A. Cohen & Associates, which manages both buildings, is deliberately mistreating low-income renters in an effort to push them out of their homes.
It seems silly now to imagine that some of us groused about the opening of a “Mini-Mall” in the Realform Girdle Building– it just seemed so yuppie-ish and suburban and right there on Bedford and North 5th, like the places we’d escaped to get to New York. If you can image, “gentrification” wasn’t yet a watchword.
But by 2001, along with the Verb Café (RIP, well sorta– there’s a Verb 2.0 in Greenpoint) and the Internet Garage (read: before email was on your phone, you’d stop by here to “Get high on speed!!!11” as their Facebook page advises), you could stop by Mikey’s Hookup and play ping pong while picking up a guitar cord.
It was difficult to ignore the fluttering signs at last week’s Bushwick Community Plan meeting. Sure, they were black-and-white, only about as big as two sheets of computer paper and just as flimsy, but there were tons of them. As City Council members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal touted their community-driven alternative to developer-led change, almost everyone sitting in front of them seemed to be holding a flyer reading: “EVICT THE RICH.” The rallying cry may have been more Mao Tse-tung than #BushwickBerners, but the Brooklyn Solidarity Network (BSN) couldn’t have been more serious.
A slew of city agencies and elected officials are asking Bushwick residents for direct input on how best to handle the rapid change that’s consuming the neighborhood.
“We’re here to make sure we give the people the opportunity to make a decision on what their neighborhood’s going to look like in the future,” City Council member Antonio Reynoso told the crowd at a Monday meeting at Ridgewood Bushwick Youth Center. Among the areas of concern: population growth, demographic shifts, the loss of affordable housing, an influx of luxury housing, private interests, and businesses that cater toward the moneyed. In other words, gentrification.