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NYC Might Expand Outdoor Dining, But What Would That Look Like?

(Photo: Fuzheado via WikiCommons)

With the weather warming and restaurant owners becoming increasingly desperate for guidance on reopening, the City Council introduced new legislation Thursday requiring the Department of Transportation to identify streets, sidewalks, and other public spaces suitable for outdoor dining. During a virtual roundtable discussion Friday, council members discussed the measure with over 200 small business owners and concerned citizens. More →

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Bars Are Now Selling NYC’s Favorite Illicit Street Drink, Nutcracker

After a high-profile crackdown last summer, nutcracker has made a return. But not necessarily on city beaches, where crowds have been sparse due to poor weather, a swimming ban, and concerns about public transportation. Instead, the highly potent fruit punches– sold in 8-ounce or 16-ounce bottles– have crept onto the menus of local drinking establishments. With restaurants now allowed to serve booze to-go, several licensed establishments have started appropriating a drink usually sold illicilty out of coolers on the beach, in the subway, or on street corners. To find out whether bar-bought nutcrackers and their frozen counterparts, phrosties, pack the same punch, we uncapped a few. More →

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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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NYC’s Closest Drive-In Reopens Tonight, and Advance Tickets Are Sold Out All Weekend

Drive-in movie theaters were briefly a light in the darkness when conventional theaters started closing in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. But when we checked in with them two months ago, many of the drive-ins mentioned in the Times and other outlets were subsequently forced to close by ever more stringent shutdown regulations. With states now reopening, outdoor theaters like the Starlight, in Atlanta, are up and running again, and our favorite New York-area drive-in, the Warwick, is finally about to join their ranks. More →

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Frankie Cosmos, Drag King Channel Surfing, and More Virtual Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

The Cake Night Show
Wednesday, May 13 on Twitch, 10 pm: FREE (donation suggested)

Since quarantine began, it could be argued that drag queens didn’t get any less visible. After all, if you’re usually going out during Friday’s episode of Drag Race and are now stuck at home, you might as well tune in. But of course, queens aren’t the only type of drag performer out there. There are drag kings, and drag performers who constantly blur the lines of gender. They may not have a mainstream TV show, but they’re doing work that deserves to be seen. Tonight, collective The Cake Boys takes to streaming platform Twitch to give you a show that has drag, yes, but so much more. Structured as an absurd channel-surfing experience, you’ll get peeks of all kinds of creativity, from wacky fitness videos to what very well may be a Satanic version of Bob Ross. Oh, and there’ll be commercials, but not the kinds you’re used to.

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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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With New Yorkers Staying Put, Moving Companies Go the Extra Mile

(Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash)

As New York’s quarantine began in March, Piece of Cake Moving & Storage saw a spike in the number of customers requesting their services. “A lot of people were scared that the city would shut down,” recalled Voyo Popovic, the moving company’s general manager. Many clients pushed up their moving date from April to March, but the higher volume didn’t carry over into the next month. Piece of Cake completed just 758 moves in April, compared to 924 in March. To keep his business running, the company has lowered its rates, not just to be competitive in the market but also to make sure its employees keep their jobs. More →

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Welcome to the Age of the Online Street Fair

With warm weather rescuing the city from the claws of winter, you might be tempted to stroll through a weekend street market. But this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Hester Street Fair won’t be filling Seward Park with food vendors, jewelers, artisans, designers, and indie entrepreneurs as usual. Instead, the beloved weekend fair is going virtual, and pitching its tents on the internet. More →