For a long time– well, starting four years ago, which feels like it was a different era in Bushwick years– Alaska was the after-midnight bar that guaranteed a good time and cheap drinks on the night ship to crazyville, and when it closed just a few weeks ago, it seemed almost certain that some frou-frou cocktail place would replace it. The bar’s Facebook goodbye only seemed to confirm this suspicion: “Alaska, at least in its present form, is closing, forever,” it read. So what’ll it be this time? A lesson on cocktail “shrub” cultivation, perhaps? Bushwick’s first X-Files-themed alien bar? Or maybe I was walking into a trap set by the Tim Burton bar guy?
Bars + Restaurants
Sure, New York may be caught in the middle of what is disconcertingly being called a “heat dome,” and hot, melted cheese is probably the last thing on your mind as you desperately fan yourself with a free Time Out NY on the Finnish sauna known as the subway. But come on: Melted cheese makes everything better, and if you can’t accept that then perhaps there’s no help for you. Enjoy your limp kelp salad.
Glorified food courts keep sprouting up, from the new Gansevoort Market to the one at the forthcoming Whole Foods Williamsburg. The latest, from real estate developer Scott Marano, opened in Noho earlier today. The Bowery Market features stalls from several local vendors and restaurants, including Soho Italian sandwich spot Alidoro, “veggie slaughterhouse” The Butcher’s Daughter, taco joint Pulqueria, and upscale Brooklyn cafe Champion Coffee.
We already knew that Luke’s Lobster was bringing an outpost of its lobster-tail cart to the forthcoming Williamsburg location of Whole Foods, and Roberta’s has been teasing the sticky buns (and other breads) it’ll bring to the table. Now comes news that some other local institutions will be repped at the megastore’s food hall, including OddFellows Ice Cream, No. 7, and East Coast Poke (which, sorry, is not a Pokemon gym, but a Smorgasburg vendor that specializes in Hawaiian salmon-and-rice bowls). Because if there’s one thing the Urban Outfitters concept store taught us about chain retailers, it’s that one simply does not walk into Williamsburg without giving some space to indie producers.
It’s not just the Whole Foods that’s opening later this month. Williamsburg is getting UberEATS, too. And so is Greenpoint.
Today is Wallplay’s last day on the Lower East Side before it has to vacate the premises at 118 Orchard Street, and if you’ll remember, they’re throwing one hell of a farewell party to commemorate their pop-up space, which during its short history added some serious color to the Lower East Side landscape. The best part? Everyone’s invited.
Lillian Melendez still remembers when Clinton Street was a destination for anyone planning a sweet sixteen, baby shower or wedding. “If you were having a party, you had to come to Clinton,” she said. “Clinton was famous, everybody knew Clinton.” As a child she spent afternoons playing in her mother’s shop, Genesis Party Supplies at 97 Clinton, packed with custom wedding and bridesmaids dresses, speciality balloons and centerpieces and themed baby shower chairs and pins. Back then, Genesis held court with three other Latino party shops on that stretch of the block alone– if a customer didn’t find what they wanted at Genesis, her mom would send them next door or across the street.
Book Launch: In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi
June 22 at 7 p.m. at The Powerhouse Arena. 37 Main Street (DUMBO)
Is identity something you choose, or is it actually the very thing you can’t escape? This is the question Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Susan Faludi poses in her most personal work yet, In the Darkroom. In 2004 Faludi went in search of her estranged 76-year-old father, a man who had been an elusive and sometimes violent presence in her childhood and then all but disappeared from her life. When Faludi discovered he had undergone sex reassignment surgery and was now living in Hungary, her whole frame of reference was shaken to the core. Her book is an effort to unpack her father’s transition and her own questions of identity, while traveling through a country in the midst of its own dangerous project of refashioning its nationhood.
The secret is out: beloved Bushwick art/party space Secret Project Robot, which has featured tons of art and hosted dozens of good shows and parties, will be closing its doors at the end of the summer. Although the news was posted just a week and a half ago, co-director Rachel Nelson doesn’t seem too broken up about it.
“The thing is we just can’t afford to stay there,” Nelson said. “That’s it.”
Albert Trummer of Apothéke has finally opened his new bar on Avenue C, having dropped the rather hilarious working title of Mixers & Elixirs in favor of Sanatorium, a name that’s true to both the bar’s Habsburgian decor (surgeon’s lamps, anatomy-driven artwork, even an X-Ray lightbox) and its Dionysian philosophy on wellness.
Deep in Chinatown, the team behind Forgtmenot and Kiki’s Greek bistro is putting down new roots–today they open Little Chair, a homey coffee shop on Monroe Street, under the Manhattan Bridge. The entrance is decorated with hanging greenery and potted flowers, like a rustic farm stand in the country. They also have a brand-new Mediterranean restaurant in the works next door.