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Saying Goodbye to Two Downtown Icons, Gem Spa and John Jovino

Gem Spa owner Parul Patel (left) and John Jovino manager Charlie Wu (right)  while the cleared out their businesses, 5/17/20.

Two of New York’s iconic businesses cleared their shelves last weekend as East Village’s Gem Spa had its signage removed and Little Italy’s police supplier John Jovino emptied its gun racks for good. Neither business had been expecting to close before the COVID-19 crisis started. More →

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Haring on the Side of Caution: Downtown Artists and Dealers (and Their Bartenders) Persevere

Art dealer Irv Ortega (right) outside the shuttered C.J. Yao Gallery in Soho while he finalized the sale of an original Keith Haring piece.

Downtown Manhattan’s galleries and bars have started to hum again after almost two months of silence brought on by coronavirus. With most artists working from home while their dealers operate on the internet and the bars that serve them surviving on to-go drinks, the scene is figuring out its new normal along with the rest of the city. Last week I caught up with some of the people still working behind it. More →

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A Strokes Sibling Says Meet Me in the Virtual Gallery

If you’re looking for something resembling your usual Thursday night gallery hop in these unusual times, sit back with your own box wine tonight as The Zero Experiment launches its new virtual gallery series. Tonight’s “opening” features the work of mixed media artist Pierre Fraiture, whose performance group Arts Elektra recently rocked Art Basel Miami with the help of his brother, Strokes bassist Nikolai Fraiture.

“Pierre is influenced by philosophy and will often find parts of poems, or worldly texts embedded in his work,” says Marina Dojchinov, founder of The Zero Experiment. His works in acrylic, oil, marker, pen, and fabric.

Fraiture will host tonight’s opening in his studio, from 6:30-8pm, giving housebound visitors a tour of his work. “In a traditional gallery opening, often the artist is inundated with people and the audience never gets the chance to ask questions,” says Dojchinov. “This fully interactive setting allows for an intimate conversation that they can really understand.”

The Zero Experiment was created by Dojchinov to support the arts community during the recent pandemic while helping local businesses stay afloat. “Each week we showcase a different artist, and a different charity to raise money for those affected by Covid-19. Through sales of art, we want to give back to those going through a hard time and create a global community.” This week will highlight the needs of Broadway Bound Kids, an organization that has made it its mission to “inspire and empower kids through the performing arts” but has struggled to keep operating in the shadow of the virus.

Future artists will include Jessica Maffia, whose art has been featured by Childish Gambino; fashion photographer and former America’s Next Top Model judge Udo Spritqnbarth; and Eddy Bogaert, who just held an Armory Week show right before the state lockdown went into place. The Zero Experiment’s artists will be announced the week of and you can RSVP here to follow the listings.

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Last Day of Disco: Crawling Brooklyn’s Bars Hours Before the Shutdown

Skinny Dennis bartender Ben Mann (right) alongside regular Ed Fordham, 3/16/20 at 5pm in Williamsburg.

There’s been a few “last nights of normal” this past week: the night the national emergency was declaredthe last night of church services, and on Monday, the last night of regular bar and food service. And it was a brief one. Every bar I visited on Monday was observing the 8pm statewide closing and regulars came in for less-than-social-distanced drinks before what would’ve been the biggest drinking day of the year. More →

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Project Parlor Reopens With Art Shows, Concerts, and Pinball

Guests in the front booth (left) alongside DJ TEK. (Photos: Nick McManus)

Bed-Stuy “boozerie” Project Parlor had its grand re-opening Friday after closing up for a month of renovations. The bar originally opened in 2009 under the ownership of Megan Florence and was bought from her in June of 2018 by former employee Rob Morrero, the bar’s music booker TJ Olsen, and law student Roy Berman, who was a regular there. The three co-owners all felt a strong connection to Project Parlor and that feeling was shared by the large crowd of friends that celebrated with them into the wee hours. More →

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Gordo’s Cantina Crosses the Brooklyn-Queens Border

Gordo’s Cantina quietly opened in Bushwick a month ago after leaving Long Island City last summer, and it’s been a good move for owner JR Savage. “I was just out walking Gordo before you got here,” said the resident of nearby Ridgewood, referring to his restaurant’s namesake French bulldog. “Living five blocks away has been perfect for getting this place together this year.” Savage’s pop-ups are still big business for him; last year his tacos was served at Celebrate Brooklyn’s concerts and Governor’s Ball, where we met him in the midst of the festival’s inclement weather. More →

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Our 36-Hour New Year’s Party Crawl

The conclusion of Bubbles & Bass’s Seize the Day party at House of Yes in Bushwick, 1/1/20 at 5:30pm.

From the far reaches of Red Hook to downtown Manhattan and back again to Bushwick’s warehouses, our New Year’s was a 36-hour race against time from one rager to the next. Follow along as we hit 20 parties across three boroughs. More →

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Brooklyn Bazaar Did Not Go Quietly Into That Good Night

Attendees of Brooklyn’s Bazaar’s closing concert, 12/1/19 at 1am.

In the almost two months since Brooklyn Bazaar announced that it would close, the venue’s fans had one wild opportunity after another for a blowout farewell. After surviving two previous closures and moving into the Polonaise Terrace catering hall in 2016, the former night market had evolved into a proper music venue— and one that won’t soon be forgotten. We hit up some of its final shows before it closed for good last Saturday. More →