Lower East Side

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Bowery Tenants Hit the Streets Again to Protest Dr. Jay’s Owner Joseph Betesh

(Wah Lee before she threw the poster on the ground and stomped on it. Photo: Shannon Barbour)

Tenants of 83 and 85 Bowery poured into the streets of Chinatown yesterday afternoon to protest their landlord Joseph Betesh, again, who they say is a “slumlord” who has been harassing and trying to evict his tenants.

Betesh, owner of Dr. Jay’s, bought 83 and 85 Bowery along with other buildings in 2013 for $62 million; according to a press release, tenants believe he has maintained that the building isn’t rent stabilized. Both parties have gone back and forth in court, and the court ultimately reached a decision that would give Betesh’s tenants longterm leases and keep the units rent-stabilized. However, the residents at 83 and 85 Bowery say Betesh has worked his way around the court’s decision and now states that the buildings must be vacated in order to do the repairs, which they fear will lead to rent increases and displacement.

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Slipper Room Owner Faces Criticism After Dropping N Bomb On Stage

Credit: Liz Clayman for New York Magazine.

Lower East Side vaudeville venue the Slipper Room is at the center of a controversy over offensive speech which began Wednesday, July 5, when host and owner James Habacker, while performing as his character Mel Frye, used a racial slur onstage as well as referred to mentally disabled people with language often considered offensive.

According to a Facebook post (quoted in a recent addition to the Slipper Room’s Wikipedia page) by someone who attended the show in question, Habacker made a joke using the term “retarded,” which he justified by arguing he was changing the word’s context to be more positive, and then, adding further fuel to the fire, claimed it was akin to black Americans’ reclamation of the “N-word,” which he used several times to the discomfort of the sole black audience member.

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Art This Week: Father + Son Collab, VR World, Hairy Domesticity

(image via Babycastles / Facebook)

Virtual Insanity
Opening Monday, July 17 at VR World NYC, 7 pm to midnight.

I think we can all agree that reality as we know it currently leaves something to be desired. So, what about virtual reality? For those not particularly prone to dizziness and/or nausea, it can be a very effective way to literally escape the perils of life and be thrust into a new environment. Even if you move your head in a bunch of angles, you can’t escape it! It’s pretty remarkable, TBH. Or terrifying, depending on what world you’re virtually immersed in. 

Tonight is the beginning of VR World NYC and Babycastles’ “VR-themed exhibition and concert.” You’ll be able to see VR ~experiences~ crafted by 9 developers/artists and vibe to music from Icarus Moth, RAFiA, and Haleek Maul. How hard can you dance without your VR goggles falling off? Tonight be the night to find out. Keep Reading »

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Diner Death Notice: Cup & Saucer Goes Dark

Credit: Shanna Ravindra, New York Magazine.

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.

Credit: ____genna____ (Instagram)

Credit: OrchardStreetRunners (Instagram).

Credit: PraiseShadows (Instagram).

The owners told the New York Times that their rent was set to nearly double and that they may look for another space.

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Alejandro Jodorowsky On Poetry, Psychomagic, and How to Get Free of Trump

Endless Poetry

When surrealist auteur Alejandro Jodorowsky makes a rare trip to New York City— to promote his new autobiographical film, Endless Poetry— you know it’s an occasion. During a MoMA discussion on Wednesday, the spry 88-year-old gave a tarot reading to Daniel Craig; the next evening on the Bowery, there was a party celebrating the release of the film’s soundtrack, composed by Alejandro’s son Adan Jodorowsky, who also stars in it.

Clearly, multi-talentedness runs in the family. Like his 37-year-old son, the elder Jodorowsky has composed music for films in which he has also acted— namely his cult masterpieces, El Topo and The Holy Mountain. At various times, he’s been a circus clown, a puppeteer, a mime, a novelist, a comic book artist, and a practitioner of his own brand of “shamanic psychotherapy,” called psychomagic.

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LES Stalwart Cup & Saucer to Shutter After 75 Years

Shanna Ravindra for New York Magazine.

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.

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Art This Week: Printmaking in Protest, Robots Will Kill, Mexico + Staten Island

(image via Center for Book Arts)

Center for Book Arts Summer Exhibitions
Opening Wednesday, July 12 at Center for Book Arts, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through September 23.

This Wednesday, The Center for Book Arts will unveil their two summer exhibitions, titled “Protest Profest: Global Burdens” and “Animation + Printing.”  Though the institutions focuses on books (obviously), the exhibitions themselves span a variety of disciplines. “Protest ≠ Profest” is their annual Artist Members Exhibition, with the timely concept of showing work dealing with activism and “current societal concerns.” In order to narrow down the type of theme that could easily fill multiple rooms worth of art (and to keep with the book focus), works on display will either be artist’s books or works relating to the book arts.

“Animation + Printing” is predominantly a short film showcase, but all films have been created using techniques typically applied to the creation of books, such as  etching, moveable type, and silkscreen. A whopping 50-ish artists will be partaking, and the exhibition theme invites a cross-discipline experience for many, as several printmakers will be attempting animation and vice versa. Keep Reading »

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Throwback Italian Deli Promises Food Just Like Nonna Used to Make

Credit: Nico Eyes.

Following on the recent news of Greenwich Village eatery Dante’s expansion to a second location in Little Italy comes another development of interest to fans of Italian cuisine.

Today is the grand opening of Regina’s Grocery, an Italian-American comfort-food joint at 27 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side, next door to The Fat Radish.

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Sneak Peek: Hanksy Brings Art Show to Abandoned Lowline Space For One Weekend Only

Photo credit: Jesse Vega.

Opening tonight: a three-nights-only popup art installation in an abandoned, soon-to-be-demolished Lower East Side market hall, organized by the cult New York street artist Hanksy. We got a preview tour of the space, where the ten artists have been working overtime to finish their murals.

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LES Residents at De Blasio Town Hall: Don’t Let High-Rises Push Us Out

Mayor de Blasio and council member Chin at the well-attended town hall meeting in the Lower East Side © Kasper van Laarhoven

Over 300 residents of the Lower East Side and Chinatown gathered in a Bowery gym for Mayor de Blasio’s 27th town hall Wednesday, and we probably don’t have to tell you what the theme of the evening was. You guessed it: gentrification, particularly with regard to the 60-plus-story towers rising over Two Bridges.

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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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Lawsuit: Owner of Will Ferrell Theme Bar Should Stay Classy and Pay Back $120K

It’s a story worthy of five-time Emmy-Award-winning anchor Ron Burgundy and Tits McGee. An investor who teamed up with the owners of Will Ferrell-themed bar Stay Classy New York claims he’s owed $120,000. By the beard of Zeus!

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Michael Galkovich alleges that the owners of the Lower East Side bar, Zachary Hosier and Brian Link, agreed to make him a managing partner and a 70-percent owner of the bar’s parent company if he paid them $120,000 and won approval from the State Liquor Authority. Galkovich put in $60,000 up front, but he never got the chance to become an owner, the suit alleges.

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