The bodegas-with-bongs trend continues, as the old New Corner Magazine, on the corner of St. Marks and Third Avenue, took down its grungy blue awning today and replaced it with the smokin’ signage above. The store still carries magazines and Necco candy wafers (and still has the same grumpy counterperson), but it now has hookahs in the window and a case in the back showing off various other smoking devices. Now can they score the coveted Action Bronson visit?
Before social media, Valentine’s Day was an occasion for couples to show their love to one another via handwritten notes, chocolates, Hallmark cards and roses. Now it is an opportunity for couples to show the world how vomit-inducingly in love they are whilst reenforcing how crappy and meaningless and empty our lives are by comparison.
A group of concerned Lower East Siders is trying to put the kibosh on $1-slice joints, but they can’t keep you from scarfing down FREE pizza. Which is what Two Bit’s Retro Arcade is offering. This Tuesday from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. it’s Pizza Tuesdays, featuring free slices from Rizzo’s at 10 p.m. And free popcorn, too! As if that’s not enough, Shocked Minds drummer Kirk Podell will spin rock, punk, post-punk and garage, and there’ll be 25-cent arcade games and cult films on the big screen. AND Lady Bree will be pouring $4.50 pints all night. Granted, Two Bit’s isn’t the first bar to offer free pizza, but it’s the first to advertise it via an awesome Garbage Pail Kids flyer (by Bowery Boys bassist Sam Hariss). Respect!
On the weekend before Valentine’s Day, the Orchard Corset Center was crowded with customers looking to get fitted for bras, bridal bustiers and corsets. The Lower East Side relic hasn’t attracted nearly as much recent media attention as American Apparel’s lingerie mannequins have around the corner, but it has this much going for it: authenticity beyond displays of fake pubic hair. Oh, and Peggy Bergstein, who owns the tiny storefront with her husband Ralph, claims she can tell a customer’s bra size just by looking at her bust.
Pride & Joy, the barbecue joint that was to replace Lucky Cheng’s, is suing the building’s owner for $22 million and alleging that structural issues like a termite infestation delayed its opening. [DNA Info]
The Landmarks Preservation Commission sent developers of a building next to the Merchant’s House Museum back to the drawing board once again. 
Yesterday, we got the sad news that Maggie Estep, arguably the face of the ’90s East Village slam movement, died at 50. Today, we spoke to Bob Holman, who helped propel her to fame as co-director of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and Mark Pellington, who directed her classic “Hey Baby” video. Here’s what they had to say.
Maggie came out at the Nuyorican Poets Café when the Nuyorican had just reopened. Slam had just emerged in Chicago and I imported it here – and it became their signature, where the multiculti voices found a home. Maggie’s punk-absurdist, angry-comic voice was a leading edge. I ran the slams, so I was the one who called her up and told her, “Oh, you really are good, you really do have to come back and let us hear some more.”
That East River Ferry ramp isn’t the only thing that crapped out today — minutes ago above 177 First Avenue, near East 11th Street, a crew was struggling to untangle a mess of scaffolding that had collapsed on itself. Cops had taped off the area around Momofuku Noodle Bar and Iggy’s Pizzeria, and onlookers watched as workers battled a plastic tarp that was being whipped by the wind. Careful out there, folks!
This kind of weather demands a hot toddy, and Otto’s Shrunken Head wants to give ya one. Tonight at 8 p.m., they’re hosting a tribute to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, the hard-drinking, voodoo-vamping singer-pianist best known for “I Put a Spell On You” (and not as well known for “Constipation Blues”). Hawkins — who in the ’80s appeared in Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train and had a weekly engagement at an East Village restaurant called Jack the Ribber — died 14 years ago yesterday.
Estep was a fixture of the East Village slam-poetry scene who rose to national prominence via her grunge-era appearances on MTV and on HBO’s Def Poetry, and went on to perform in front of massive festival audiences.