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$13 Million Synagogue Sale Threatened by Power Struggle of Biblical Proportions

The Home of the Sages property on Bialystoker Place. Photograph: J. Oliver Conroy.

A new lawsuit is only the latest sign of an epic power struggle within the Home of the Sages of Israel, a tiny Lower East Side synagogue. The house of worship’s nondescript and rundown building on Bialystoker Place has become the subject of a ferocious real estate battle between different factions, each claiming to be the synagogue’s lawful representative.

In a suit filed two weeks ago – only the latest in a mounting pile of litigation – members of the Orthodox Jewish synagogue’s small congregation allege that Rabbi Samuel Aschkenazi, “who despite his title, is not the rabbi for Home of the Sages,” is attempting to sell the property out from under them to real estate developer Peter Fine – and then split the $13 million profit with Friends of Mosdot Goor, a Gerer Hasidic group unconnected to the synagogue.

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Visit a Bodega Where Every Item is Made of Felt. Yes.

Credit: www.sewyoursoul.com

Have you ever fantasized about visiting a bodega where every sale item is an exact replica made of felt? No? Either way, as on June 5, you’ll now have the opportunity.

For your consideration: Next week British artist Lucy Sparrow will unveil her newest art installation– a 1,200-square-foot space she has conjured into an “immersive, fully stocked felt convenience store.” The store will contain 8,000 purchasable items, all made of felt. Snickers bar? Felt. Pack of Marlboros? Felt. Liter of milk? Felt. Bodega cat? Felt, probably.

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Legendary Gogo Dive Pussycat Lounge Returns After a Six-Year Catnap

Nine lives, indeed! The legendary Pussycat Lounge has quietly reopened after six years of uncertainty.

I haven’t yet read Meet Me in the Bathroom, the oral history of the aughts rock scene that got James Murphy and Nick Zinner reminiscing, but I’d be surprised if the Pussycat Lounge wasn’t mentioned. After all, it’s where Taavo Somer and Carlos Quirarte threw parties before they went on to open downtown hotspots Freemans and The Smile, respectively. At one point, the place was so cool that it appeared in a Times trend piece about the death of the trucker hat. And then, in 2011, the 41-year-old dive was suddenly closed by the city, after its building was deemed unsafe.

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Coney Island’s New Vintage Pinball Arcade Is Ready to Roll

The Mystic Machine

Photo credit: Norman Blake

Last week we shared the news that the Coney Island Museum is expanding with a new (playable) pinball exhibition. We’ve obtained more details about the pinball gallery, which had its soft opening yesterday.

“We had machines in the bar being played nonstop,” said Dick Zigun, founder of Coney Island USA and “unofficial mayor” of Coney Island.

Not all the machines are installed yet; by this coming weekend everything should officially be in place.

There are going to be 10 pinball machines – six in the Coney Island Museum storefront and another three or four in the Freak Bar in the lobby of the nearby Arts Center.

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The Mermaid Parade Has Been Saved, and Coney Island Museum Is Adding a Pinball Wing

Mermaids at last year's parade.

At last year’s Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

The Mermaid Parade, Coney Island’s annual crowd-pleaser and glitter-industry Black Friday, is back on solid financial footing — and not a moment too soon — thanks to an unexpected deus ex machina: the intervention of two generous private donations supplementing an ongoing crowdfunding campaign.

Despite the recent news that Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie fame will raise their scepters as this year’s Queen Mermaid and King Neptune, the Parade had been struggling. A “Feed the Mermaids” crowdfunding campaign to save the parade has so far raised $9,000, far short of its $50,000 goal.

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Jim Jarmusch, Wes Anderson, and Wanda Sykes Want You to See These French Films Outdoors

Contempt (Le Mepris, 1963).

It’s always amusing to hear new transplants to New York speak excitedly of summer in the city. Those of us who have lived here longer know with grim certainty that the city will soon transform into a giant sauna filled with rotting garbage. Not quite a dystopian hell. But close.

However, there are some things to look forward to in the summer. One of them is Films on the Green. Cinema buffs – and francophiles – will want to mark their calendars for the popular outdoor film series, which returns June 2nd and runs through the 7th.

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A Look at Red Hook Lobster Pound’s New Rockaway Clam Bar

(Photo: Rockaway Clam Bar’s Instagram)

Earlier this month, when we shared the lineup of food vendors at Riis Park Beach Bazaar, we noted that one of the newcomers this season would be Rockaway Clam Bar. Now we have some more information to share about the seafood purveyor that’ll take over for Wildfeast as that vendor focuses on its new Long Beach restaurant. Turns out that the folks behind Rockaway Clam Bar, which soft-opened yesterday and will fully open this weekend, are Susan Povich and Ralph Gorham of Red Hook Lobster Pound. The couple, who split their time between Red Hook and Rockaway, are focusing on the sort of New England-style grub you might find at Bigelow’s Fried Clams, the throwback clam shack over in Rockville Center, Long Island. Think clam rolls, clam-strip sliders, clam chowder, and peel-and-eat shrimp.

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Behold, The Churro Taco Waffle!

(Courtesy of Max Brenner)

What, you thought we were going to leave it at the fried-chicken donut sandwich? Oh, hell no. We have still more blechtacular food to hip you to, starting with the Churro Taco Waffle that’s now available at Max Brenner. The Union Square chocolatier just launched a new dessert menu, and the star of the show is this self-described “Mexi-Waffle creation.”

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Gratis Grub Alert: Free Dogs at Feltman’s, 99-Cent Burgers at Duncan’s

A happy Feltman’s customer. (Photo courtesy of Michael Quinn.)

If you were planning to mooch off of your friends this weekend by not bringing any beer to their Memorial Day barbecues, here’s a far more respectable way to freeload.

Feltman’s, the 100-year-old hot dog brand that preceded Nathan’s and this summer returned to Coney Island six decades after it closed there, is celebrating its return with a giveaway. On Monday, starting at 11:30am, the first 150 people to line up for the boardwalk shack’s grand opening and ribbon cutting will score free all-natural beef dogs, served on a toasted potato bun. Remember: This dog won the approval of competitive-eating champ Takeru Kobayashi himself, who knows a thing or two about scoring free dogs. Then again, that’s probably not saying much, since he’s presumably pretty burned out on Nathan’s after eating fistfuls of them at a time.

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Helvetica, Yeah! Greenpoint Gets a Graphic Design Bookstore

(Photo courtesy of Hamish Smyth, Order)

If you’re the kind of person who delights in debating the relative merits of font serifs or reminiscing about the heyday of subway sign design then you may have a new place to congregate with the like-minded. The founders of Greenpoint-based design firm Order recently opened Standards Manual– to their knowledge New York’s only specialty graphic design bookstore.

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Attention Indie Film Fans: One Week to the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival

The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival

Picture courtesy of AoBFF17.

Here’s some good news for New York’s numerous indie film fans – the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival is only a week away.

Running June 3 to 12, the festival (acronym, for extra credit: AoBFF17) describes itself as “the ONLY international, independent festival in the world devoted to Brooklyn’s vibrant film and media scene,” and considers films with any connection to the borough.

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Good Room Launches Rooftop Party Series at Dobbin St, With Roberta’s Doing Food

(Courtesy of Dobbin St)

Output has one undeniable advantage over its Greenpoint clubbing counterpart, Good Room. It has a roof, which this year has been redesigned to resemble an “enchanted forest.” But, wait: Not to be outdone, Good Room has announced a series of parties over at Dobbin St, the neighboring events space that has been hosting man markets, movie screenings and the like.

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