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Take the ‘A’ Stairs: New Entrance Extends First Ave L Station to Alphabet City

Monday morning at 9am, a shiny new entrance to the First Avenue stop on the L train opened to the public. What’s been years of seemingly little progress on the L is finally showing some results. The entrance is located at 14th Street and Avenue A, giving easier access to residents of Stuy-Town and other areas east of the First Avenue stop.  

The new opening is for Brooklyn-bound L trains, and the entrance has two sets of stairs, clean white tiles and an abundance of bright lights. It’s the first of many improvements on the docket for the First Avenue stop, including sidewalk restoration and two elevators to increase accessibility. 

“For years we’ve been thinking, ‘Wow, it’d be such a great idea to have an entrance here,’” said Tim Cramer, who lives on 12th Street and Avenue A. He rides the L train about three times a week. “I think it’s a really amazing thing. Out of all the stuff they can be doing in the subway they did something here and I think it’s fantastic.”

The new entrance will alleviate some congestion at the stop and save a lot of riders that long block of walking. “It’s very good for me,” said Bestabe Marin, who works as a home helper in the East Village and uses the 1st Avenue station a lot. “I used to take the bus, but now I can have the train close and easy. I’m so glad.”

(Photos and video: Kai Burkhardt)

The new improvement to the station is a welcome addition to what will soon be a bustling hub. After some initial controversy, congestion on 14th Street has been eased by a well-received new busway that bans cars during rush hour. And now, a Target that opened in 2018 and a Trader Joe’s currently under construction are sure to bring more shoppers to the L stop. 

With the Avenue A entryway up and running, the staircases on First Avenue will close in about a week for repairs, according to EV Grieve. But maybe this opening marks the beginning of the end. Though there’s still a lot to accomplish before the project’s summer 2020 deadline (such as elevators at 1st Avenue and other stations), it’s looking hopeful. The L train project is set to finish three months ahead of schedule. After countless headaches and delays, could the L train finally be on the right track?

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Ruffian’s New Offshoot Adds a Tropical Touch to Aperitivo

This week, the hospitality team behind Ruffian (the recently designated Michelin Bib Gourmand) opened their offshoot project, Kindred, an East Village restaurant with nods to the coastal Adriatic regions of Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.

While they wait for gas, Kindred is currently operating as a wine and cocktail bar with a small selection of snacks: smoked olives, onion dip with flatbread, a crostini plate and chicken meatballs. The menu will be extended in upcoming weeks, to offer diners an incentive to spend more time in the tastefully decorated space. 

The decor in the East 6th Street location is minimal and clean, evoking the feeling of a sun-soaked Mediterranean getaway. The bar and dining room are separated by a white-washed brick wall, calling to mind Italian aperitivo culture—one where diners are encouraged to socialize while sipping cocktails at the bar before even looking at the food menu.

Charlotte Mirzoeff, director of the cocktail program and head bartender, was heavily influenced by the laid-back nature of Italian aperitivo tradition while crafting the mixed-drinks. “Aperitivo culture is catching on because it’s more sustainable,” she said. “It’s not going to three different restaurants or bars and being shit-faced by the end of the night.”

At the same time, you’ll find more than just Aperol Spritzes here. The cocktail list is compact but lively, featuring six creations with complex, layered flavors and tropical vibes. A staff favorite is the Isola Mai Tai, which features Belizean rum, cachaca, pineapple, pistachio syrup, lime, basil and celery. “When you think of coastal regions anywhere in the world, you’re like, ‘I want a piña colada or a margarita,’ tropical- style drinks,” Mirzoeff said. “So I wanted to steer Kindred’s cocktails away from plain-old Italian aperitivo and give it this more coastal identity.”

During happy hour (weekdays 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and late night happy hour (Friday and Saturday 11 p.m. to 12 a.m.), there’ll be three additional cocktails—an Italian style Daiquiri, a rum and pineapple drink called Jungle Bird and a sparkling aperitivo cocktail—at reduced prices.

Kindred isn’t solely focused on cocktails—the restaurant stays true to its Ruffian roots with a wide selection of natural and orange wines. The list of around 70 wines from the featured waterside regions is focused mainly on by-the-glass options, but the bottles also sit at reasonable price points, with very few bottles exceeding $100.

“What’s great about the Adriatic region is that you get fantastic value in the quality of wines, particularly with older vintages, but at a very good price point,” said Alexis Percival, partner and co-director of the beverage program.

Once up and running, Kindred’s full menu will serve a little bit of family tradition to the East Village. Chef de Cuisine Amy Mattulina (Maialino, Charlie Bird) says the handcrafted pasta dishes will start off with her grandmother’s recipe for potato-based gnocchi, paired with a simple tomato sauce. In addition, there’ll be large-format dishes like “fish in a blanket” and a whole hen roasted with Calabrian chili oil and preserved lemon. Smaller plates will include fried chickpeas, fried ravioli, seasonal roast vegetables, radicchio salad and a warm grain salad, all keeping to the theme of Adriatic cuisine. 

Reservations are available on a limited basis, something that the small space at Ruffian doesn’t allow for. But only a small number of tables are set aside each night for reservations. Mirzoeff wants people to walk in and socialize, true to the name Kindred. “It’s an homage to community and an homage to bringing people together.”

Kindred is open Sunday, Monday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. Beginning November 11th, Kindred will be open 7 days a week. 

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Why You’ll Find Paula Sánchez-Kucukozer Dancing On Day of the Dead

Paula Sánchez-Kucukozer and Son Pecadores during a recent performance at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery.

If there is something music performer Paula Sánchez-Kucukozer is obsessed with, it is skulls. Her shoulder bag has a Mexican skull design; her necklace has a Mexican skull pendant; hanging on her keychain, there are a colorful Mexican skull and a cardholder that she opens to hand me her business card – with a Mexican skull on the back. More →

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Heidi Klum’s Alien Costume Was So Good, She Should Be Chestbursting With Pride

Video by Angelo Fabara

H.R. Giger is having somewhat of a moment lately, as a new documentary about his Oscar-winning visual effects work, Memory: the Origins of Alien, is now streaming, and a tribute exhibition curated by outré auteur Harmony Korine, “Birth Machine Baby,” is set to open at Gagosian Gallery on Nov. 5. And then there’s this: Last night, supermodel Heidi Klum slithered into her annual Halloween party looking very much like the Swiss sci-fi surrealist’s iconic alien. More →

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What We Did Halloween Weekend and What YOU Should Do Tonight

That Feeling When (right) performing as Hall(oween) and Oats alongside fans (left) at Unit J’s Rock is Dead IV concert in Bushwick.

As you can tell from our photos, we’re still pretty wiped from this past weekend’s frightful festivities. But if we didn’t go out on All Hallow’s Eve proper, we’d be some real ’weenies. That’s why you’ll find us at tonight’s Color Me BOO-shwick concert and at the always-packed That’s So 90’s dance party at the The Woods. The I Remember Halloween party is also a safe bet: the light-up floor at JJ’s Hideaway has seen a lot of dancing shoes since it opened a few months ago. More →

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Performance Picks: Spooky Drag and Sex Work Fundraising

WEDNESDAY

(poster courtesy of Shark Party Media)

Never A Boy
Wednesday, October 30 at UCB Hell’s Kitchen, 9 pm: $9

Visibility and representation in the media for trans and gender non-conforming people is certainly better than it once was, but it’s still all too common to see trans characters played by cis actors (or written by cis writers) or shoehorned into unfortunate stereotypes. That’s not the case with comedian Chloe Koser’s one-woman show Never A Boy. Koser tells her own story in her own words, delving into her personal journey of transition with a narrative that’s poignant but also unabashedly, comedically explicit. It’s not all autobiography, though; in between the memoir components of the show, Koser will perform an array of absurd characters, from a tampon maker to someone with deep carnal desire for a whale.

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7 Years After Sandy, Rockaway Is Getting Its Handball Courts Back

A chess table and section of boardwalk uprooted by Sandy. (Photos: Daniel Maurer)

Seven years after Hurricane Sandy tore more than half of Rockaway Beach’s 5.5-mile boardwalk off its stanchions, the waterfront is thriving again. Last year, Rockaway Beach welcomed a staggering 5.5 million visitors. But millennials enthralled by the cornucopia of ceviche, quinoa arepas, and kombucha on tap may not have noticed something missing: the handball courts ripped up by the superstorm in 2012 still haven’t returned to Beach 105th Street. More →

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IDNYC Benefits Expand to The Whitney, The Shed, National Sawdust, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and More

City ID holders are about to get a whole lot more worldly. The city announced today that next year, new partners in its IDNYC program will include the Whitney Museum, the Apollo Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Bargemusic, and a couple of cutting-edge music and performance venues: National Sawdust in Williamsburg and The Shed in Hudson Yards. 

Asked for details about the benefits, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs promised them in the coming weeks. A spokesperson for National Sawdust told Bedford + Bowery that IDNYC card holders will be eligible for a Venture membership granting half-price tickets to almost every show at the new-music venue. Bargemusic, which hosts chamber-music concerts on a floating barge in Dumbo, told us that it would extend its seniors discount (typically $5 off of a $35 ticket) to IDNYC holders. Jazz at Lincoln Center said it’s still working with the city to determine which benefits it will provide. We’ve reached out to the other cultural venues as well and will let you know if they share any specifics. 

Current benefits from partners that will return in 2020 include a Level 1 membership at Brooklyn Academy of Music (advance access to tickets, 50 percent off same-day tickets and more), membership at MoMA (free admission to the museum’s galleries and to MoMA PS1 as well as free same-day film tickets), a “Friends” membership at Carnegie Hall (half-price tickets on select performances), and membership at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (free admission for the cardholder and accompanied children). 

Again, it’s uncertain what some of the new partners will offer. Currently, the Whitney’s lowest tier of paid membership offers unlimited express and free admission for members, half-price general admission tickets for their guests, access to preview days for major exhibitions, and discounts of up to 20 percent at the museum gift shop. The Shed’s lowest tier offers 24-hour advance ticket access. Jazz at Lincoln Center membership offers exclusive ticket discounts and pre-sale access. 

In addition to the new partners, the city announced that starting Dec. 2, residents whose cards are expiring in less than 60 days, or whose cards have been expired for less than six months, can go online to renew and make changes such as gender designation. (In January, the city announced that in addition to the traditional M and F designations, it was adding an X option for transgender, non-binary and nonconforming residents.) They’ll receive a redesigned card featuring the Statue of Liberty in the background. 

The first set of IDNYC cards, issued in 2015, are set to expire in January 2020. There are currently over 1.3 million cardholders, according to the city. 

Update: This article was updated after publication with the specific benefits offered by National Sawdust and Bargemusic.

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Art This Week: Human Bones and Tyree Guyton

Nicole Awai, Reflection Pool, 2019, acrylic paint, resin, graphite, nail polish, plastic, shells, crystalline solids and paper, 50 x 38 in. 

Envisioning the Liquid Land
Opening Wednesday, October 30 at Lesley Heller Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through December 21.

Envisioning the Liquid Land could be the title of a book on how climate change will undoubtedly plunge us all underwater one day, but it’s also the name of Nicole Awai’s latest solo show, on view starting Wednesday at Lesley Heller Gallery on Orchard Street. The Trinidad-born artist and teacher is known for utilizing a wide range of items in her art, from nail polish and resin to feathers and shells, in order to explore the intricacies of living in America today. Awai’s multifaceted style gives her work a multi-dimensional feel reminiscent of candy-colored dreamlands that look almost like normal life, but more surreal and more intriguing. That’s not all—in the gallery’s project space, there will also be an installation by Rachelle Dang, inspired by Hawaiian colonialism and botanical cabinets.

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