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Thursday Dispatch: The 5th Precinct Is Not A Lost & Found

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Deliveristas in Petrosino Park
Deliveristas in Petrosino Park
Deliveristas in Petrosino Park

Did you lose a wallet around Mulberry near Columbus Park yesterday? If it was a MK card holder with a Minnesota driver’s license, someone found it and turned it in to the nearby 5th Precinct… which was apparently confused by the idea of being used as a lost-and-found. Huh? Anyway, if you find a wallet in our area, you’re better off either finding the owner on Facebook or LinkedIn, or bringing it to the nearest branch of whatever ATM card is in it.

Please open your calendar and see what your plans are for December 11—if they involve the East Village or the Lower East Side, we highly suggest you move them somewhere else because unfortunately the pandemic could not kill Santa Con, only force it to hibernate for a year. We’ve seen participants in Nolita before and hope our area is out of this year’s route! Would love for the CDC to track if Covid infection rates go markedly up in the suburbs and Murray Hill the week after Santa Con.

Good op-ed in City Limits by Christian Covington asking our next mayor for transparency around NYPD discipline: ‘By personally intervening in discipline decisions as the mood strikes him, Adams will not only undermine the purpose of these rules and standards, he will defeat them, making murky the clear line of accountability that is supposed to adhere between a citizen and a police officer.’

Have you tried one of the new 15 minute grocery delivery apps like JOKR and Gorillas that started proliferating around town earlier this summer? Our area doesn’t have many bodegas compared to most of the rest of the city, but we’re also comparatively higher income and more importantly, not a food desert—which is exactly why these apps are likely to be more deadly to our bodegas and those in neighborhoods like ours, like the West Village and Park Slope.

New York Yimby crunched the numbers on Q2 and Q3 2021 new Department of Buildings filings and, well, wow: “a total of 1,023 buildings, which range from skyline-altering skyscrapers to humble single-car garages. (…) Upon completion, the buildings will add a combined 19,052 residences, an impressive number even if it still falls short of the city’s dire need for new housing.”

Last but not least, don’t forget to take your anti-depressants and maybe a Vitamin D pill too cause:

Wednesday Dispatch: Adams, Bragg, Marte!

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Eric Adams

Eric Adams

As everyone predicted after he won the Democratic Primary, Eric Adams is the next mayor of NYC. (Frankly, we’re more excited Alvin Bragg‘s our next Manhattan District Attorney.)

Anyway, this tweet is wild and also accurate and we have many feelings about it this morning:

https://twitter.com/Choire/status/1455623811500593155

Another thing we have feelings about: “anything is better than de Blasio, who is still our Mayor for two more months. Is that enough time for him to screw anything else up on his way out, or is he just going to concentrate on what will indubitably be a doomed run for governor? Does he actually think he can win or is he doing it for the LOL factor?

Congrats to Christopher Marte, our newly-elected City Council District 1 representative. We’re excited to see what new blood does on the council—but are also already curious if Margaret Chin will run against him in the next election after sitting this one out due to term limits.

Some good news: Governor’s Island isn’t just a summer weekends destination any more—starting this week, it’s now open seven days a week, and the ferry is still completely free for many people, including anyone with a IDNYC.

And some bad news: Con-Ed is predicting NYC heating bills will increase 24% this winter due to a global natural gas shortage, with the average consumer paying $66 more each month.

For those of you who own but are thinking of selling in this market, brokers sound off on what to do in six different scenarios. Biggest tip: if it’s turn-key, list it now; if it needs work, you might want to wait because current buyers don’t seem to want to renovate.

Last but not least: if you’re flushing wet wipes down the toilet, please please please reconsider lest they start to form islands here like they’re doing over in the UK. We already have Staten Island!

November 2021 CB2 SLA Licensing

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Bar at Le Coucou
Bar at Le Coucou, by Lou Stejskal

Dos Caminos SoHo
Dos Caminos SoHo, by jmm

Here’s a look at Manhattan Community Board 2‘s SLA licensing schedule for tomorrow night, Nov 3rd. We’ve only posted the ones in our area this month, of which there aren’t very many—most applications are for the West Village. (Our comments in parenthesis and italics after each item.)

SLA Licensing 1
Wednesday, Nov 3 (6:30, Zoom)

1a. Applications to the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) for Corporate Change to existing Restaurant Wine (RW), Tavern Wine (TW) or Full Liquor On-Premise (OP) Licenses:

  • 475 Soho, LLC d/b/a Dos Caminos SOHO, 475-477 W. Broadway 10012 (OP-Restaurant) (Sidewalk Café)

1e. Apps. to the SLA for New License for New Beer and Wine license (RW/TW):

  • Saito, LLC d/b/a Saito, 70-72 Kenmare St., Store 5 & 6, 10012 (RW-Restaurant) (Full-service Japanese restaurant, in a location that has recently previously housed two other Japanese restaurants since 2013. Hoping the Hitoshi Fujita named as an owner in the application is the same chef behind Midtown’s well-reviewed but now-closed Butterfish!)

1f. Apps. to the SLA for New License for Full Liquor On-Premise (OP) (Sidewalk Café)

  • Mari Makan Next Door, LLC fka Fadilla Latjuba Vongerichten (Entity to be Formed) d/b/a TBD, 22 Spring St. 10012 (OP-Restaurant) (Previously Unlicensed) (This is Cedric Vongerichten‘s Indonesian-born chef wife Ochi, and next door to his first solo restaurant Wayan; “mari makan” means “let’s eat” in Malay. Fingers crossed this gets approved!)
  • Metz Zutto Ramen II, Inc. d/b/a Zutto Japanese American Bar, 384 Broome St. 10013 (OP-Restaurant) (Expansion of a restaurant that’s been in Tribeca for four decades even though it’s rather mediocre. This location was formerly Sal’s Little Italy, which closed this winter after over thirty years.)
  • B E F Restaurante, Inc. d/b/a Casa di Angelo, 146 Mulberry St., So. Store 10013 (OP-Restaurant) (This is the former location of Angelo’s of Mulberry St—opened in 1902, they were most recently owned by the family of a Real Housewife of New Jersey, suffered from a major fire in 2018, were successfully sued for non-payment of rent in January 2020, and finally shut down sometime this March. This new incarnation looks to be trading on the old Angelo’s name but with no old faces involved; one of the named partners, Iyad Hamsho, is involved with two other restaurants on Mulberry St, and is currently being sued along with one of them (Zia Maria) for a fair standards labor violation.)

FYI/Renewals:

  • Soho Thai, 141 Grand St. (OP)
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill #1597, 71 Spring St. (OP)

Le Coucou Reopening + Restaurants Opening, Moving, & Closing

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Bar at Le Coucou
Bar at Le Coucou, by Lou Stejskal

Bar at Le Coucou
Bar at Le Coucou, by Lou Stejskal

Closed since last Spring, we were well past beginning to fear Le Coucou on Lafayette St would never open its doors again, but the Stephen Starr & Daniel Rose restaurant, which has been packed to the gills since its debut and has a Michelin star, will finally be reopening for dinner this Sunday, November 7. No lunch for now, a la carte plus an overhauled dessert menu courtesy of Mark Henning, and a new four course tasting menu under $200. Haven’t seen any outdoor shed construction out there yet, so looks like it will be indoor dining only for now—make your reservations now while you can and bring proof of vaccination!

Open soon-ish: We were hoping against hope Torrisi Deli and Restaurant would open last month as promised, but it’s the very rare NYC food establishment that actually opens on time so we’re not surprised it’s still in the works. That Puck Building corner space is pretty nice—even if Jared Kushner is the landlord.

Moves: The soba specialists at Cocoron, one of our favorite Japanese restaurants in the city, have picked up and left their block on Kenmare after many years—they’ve crossed the Bowery and are now a five minute walk away at 16 Delancey. Ed’s Lobster Bar has moved down two blocks to a corner space on Lafayette and Grand, which has doubled their outdoor seating, while Granyette Wine & Spirits has moved around the corner and up to a smaller space on Lafayette between Broome and Grand.

Closing: The much-loved Coco Pazzo is gone from its long time space at Spring and Thompson, but it’s only kind of gone gone—its merged with its sister restaurant Coco Pazzeria a few blocks west at 307 Spring, and the resulting merger is now called Coco Pazzo Tratorria. Not all the menu items have made the transition, so we think it’s more of a closing than a move, but SoHo regulars should be fine to schlep the extra few blocks since the new space is pretty nice. The West Broadway branch of the Brooklyn-based coffee chain Brooklyn Diamond looks like it’s been emptied out, after having been closed for a while; it was a very bare bones space with good coffee.

Dying: If you’ve been in there recently, it’s no secret that the food court at the Canal Street Market is almost always empty and has been for quite a while: the only food stalls that seem to ever be open are the excellent but relatively pricey Joe’s Steam Rice Roll and the patbingsu and bubble tea purveyors Lazy Sundaes. If you like either or would like to try them out, now is the time to go, cause we don’t know much more time they’re gonna have there.

Elizabeth St Garden Halloween Pet Parade 2021

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Elizabeth St Garden Halloween Pet Parade

[metaslider id=649]

The neighborhood’s highlight of this past Halloween weekend was easily the Elizabeth St Garden‘s 2nd Annual Pet Parade yesterday afternoon, which had 80 registered participants—mostly dogs, but with a handful of brave cats—and hundreds of animal lovers in the garden, with many more inside trying to get in. It was so crowded inside that they must’ve been over capacity, and we ended up leaving just as they started the official contest, but by then we’d already taken a few snaps of most of our favorite contestants. (The one we very much regret not photographing: Lupi the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, dressed up as a NYC Department of Sanitation worker, complete with a snapback cap!) If you’d like more photos, the Garden has a great Twitter thread of their favorites.

Monday Dispatch: CB2 Meetings, Van Leeuwen Fined

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elizabeth street garden bench

elizabeth street garden bench

Election reminder: today is the last day to request an absentee ballot in person. The general election is tomorrow, Nov 4th, and if you’re registered to vote but have never voted or have recently moved, make sure you go to the correct polling station. Please vote, and vote wisely!

This week’s relevant Manhattan Community Board 2 meetings will both be conducted via Zoom:

Note that the latter meeting will have a presentation of SoHo Broadway BID‘s public realm framework and vision plan; Sean Sweeney of SoHo Alliance sent out a bulletin last Saturday to say, in part, that “it is selfish and irresponsible for the Broadway BID and its real-estate backers to try to foist their traffic problem onto their neighbors.” We’ve reached out to the BID today for a reply and will share when we hear back, but urge you to click both links earlier in this paragraph to see where both sides are coming from, even if your mind is already made up as to which side you support.

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art’s just kicked off their Gala Online Art Auction today at noon—it will be running till the 15th and features many LGBTQ artists—including this year’s Gala honoree Jeffrey Gibson and the museum’s Artist Fellows—with work across mediums and disciplines, and from all over the world. Something we haven’t seen before: the auction benefits the museum but they will be sharing revenue with the featured artists. Tickets are also now available for their 2021 Fall Gala, which will be held on Nov 9th; prices start at $300 for a ticket and are partially tax deductible.

Local ice cream chain Van Leeuwen, which has an outpost at 45 Spring St in Nolita, will be paying the city over $12,000 in fines for violating the cashless ban 17 times this year alone—after receiving and subsequently ignoring a cease-and-desist sent for the same behavior last year. It’s far from the only business in our area that’s been blatantly violating the cashless ban, so if you feel strongly about it please consider reporting establishments to the NYC Department of Consumer and Work Protection. Complaints are accepted online, via 311, snail mail, and fax.

It’s not quite no more plastic straws, but thanks to a law passed earlier this year, today is the first day that city businesses will not be handing plastic straws out unless you specifically request one; you may have noticed that some cafes and restaurants have already switched to paper straws over the last few weeks.

Make sure to read this fantastic essay by Kathryn Hymes in Wired on how calling what’s been going on with the workforce recently “The Great Resignation” misses the point:

Its main substance—resignations—may be the least consequential thing about the moment that it’s come to represent. The real takeaway is why people are leaving their jobs in the first place—rampant stress, the shift to remote work, a forced reckoning with what matters in light of the pandemic—and what resigning is leading them to do next. Taken on its surface, the Great Resignation foregrounds the language of job status, but misses a parallel, arguably bigger story: the radical realignment of values that is fueling people to confront and remake their relationship to life at home, with their families, with their friends, and in their lives outside of labor.

Last but not least, it’s that time of the year:

Friday Dispatch: Delta Variant On The Upswing, But So Are Restaurants

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Chinatown Restaurant
Chinatown Restaurant, photo by Khachik Simonian on Unsplash

Chinatown Restaurant
Chinatown Restaurant, photo by Khachik Simonian on Unsplash

Unfortunately we were a little under the weather and thus attended last night’s SoHo/Noho Working Group public hearing virtually instead of in person; the video and audio both dropped out a few times so we completely missed a few minutes here and there, while others were fuzzy enough that we didn’t get the names of most speakers, but we’re writing up our report of the meeting anyway and publishing it here on Monday.

Public Service Announcement: the last two weeks have been pretty brutal heat-wise and global warming is only going to make things worse over time, so we recommend you pay attention to the main metric that increases the risk of heat stroke the most: humidity. When wet-bulb temperature—the effective temperature in the sun, vs the heat index, which is the effective temperature in the shade—exceeds 95°F, our bodies are no longer able to cool down enough with sweat because nothing’s evaporating. Just drinking water won’t help at that wet-bulb temperature, you must stay somewhere cool and be cognizant of the warning signs and symptoms of heat stroke. Heat stroke can easily be deadly, especially in the elderly. (WSJ)

Bad news: the far more easily transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant is responsible for over a quarter of new NYC Covid cases, and that number is only going to keep rising—it’s up from 17% last week, which is itself a massive increase from just under 5% a month or so ago. Delta is already the dominant variant in infections across the US, and less than 60% of Americans are fully-immunized. (NBC)

While we’re talking about Covid, Gizmodo just put together their list of the worst charlatans of the pandemic, people who “took advantage of the situation to peddle misinformation and exploit a broken system”. Oh, and if you know anyone who still hasn’t been vaccinated, Walgreens will give them a $25 gift card following their vaccination at Walgreens—our Duane Reade (owned by Walgreens) at Broadway and Grand gives vaccinations and you can schedule an appointment online or just walk in and get one during pharmacy hours.

Also bad: three people have been killed in hit-and-runs this week as traffic deaths continue to rise as they have over the last year, even though there are fewer cars on the road. City cyclists will tell you the easiest way to get away with murder in NYC is hitting someone with a car because almost no one is ever arrested, let alone charged, for what most of us would recognize as vehicular homicide. (Gothamist)

Okay, here’s some good news: according to a new study, 85% of the 300 responding restaurants across the country reported that they’re now in a better place financially than they were pre-pandemic; the main reasons being alcohol delivery sales and expanded outdoor dining. A whopping 90% see their business doing well in a year! The study was commissioned by Uber Eats and DoorDash, so take it with a grain of salt or three—but it does track with what we’ve been hearing privately from friends in the industry. (AMNY)

Finally, if you’ve not got plans this Sunday and would like to eat outside, the New York Adventure Club is running a Chinatown food crawl led by Greenwich Village born-and-raised tour guide Michael Morgenthal with two different time slots, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Your $45 ticket gets you a walking tour of Chinatown steeped in local history plus food tastings at every eatery the tour stops at, “from scallion pancakes and dumplings, to beef jerky and steamed buns”.

Lego Seinfeld Is Real… And It’s Spectacular

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Lego Seinfeld
Lego Seinfeld

Lego Seinfeld
Lego Seinfeld

Is Seinfeld the funniest show of all time? It certainly makes the top five list—at the very least—for pretty much everyone old enough to have watched it while it was airing, which is why we were very happy to see that Lego will be making this Lego Seinfeld Set available as part of their Lego Ideas program, which takes suggestions from fan designers and occasionally turns them into commercially available sets. This set, announced on Seinfeld‘s 30th anniversary, was originally designed and proposed by Brent Waller, an Australian 3D artist whose 30th Ghostbusters anniversary set went into production a few years ago; his Lego Ideas proposal for The X-Files is currently under review.

It’s missing the cereal boxes arranged on top of the fridge, and probably doesn’t include a Festivus pole, but it does have one thing we weren’t expecting: NEWMAN. The set goes on sale on July 21st for Lego VIP members and August 1st for everyone else, at shop.lego.com and physical Lego stores worldwide, of which we have two in the city.

Thursday Dispatch: Eric Adams Wins Primary + New Diverse & Progressive City Council

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Cold Ikura Soba at Cocoon
Cold Ikura Soba at Cocoon

Cold Ikura Oroshi Soba at Cocoron
Cold Ikura Oroshi Soba at Cocoron

Last night was so hot and humid that we couldn’t bear to stand over a stove so we opted to walk over to Cocoron on Kenmare and have cold soba for dinner: one bowl of their ikura (salmon roe) oroshi soba and another of their buta (pork) shabby soba, plus two orders of their incredibly juicy, perfectly fried karaage (Japanese fried chicken) appetizers. All in all, it was a perfect neighborhood dinner on a summer night.

Reminder: tonight is the third (and likely final) public hearing for the SoHo/Noho Working Group. The meeting is scheduled from 6:30 to 9:30 at the P.S 130 Hernando De Soto auditorium (143 Baxter St); register online if you’re planning to attend in person or click here at 6:30 to view it online.

Well, it sure looks like Eric Adams is going to be the next mayor of New York City as he just won the Democratic primary by the thinnest of margins; with just one point separating him and Kathryn Garcia. (City Limits)

Here’s the best tweet in response to the news:

Oh well, at least we’re getting the most diverse, most progressive New York City Council of all time, and probably a slim female majority to boot. Per Gothamist, our new council will seat the “first Muslim woman, the first South Asian members, the first openly gay Black woman, [and] seven foreign-born New Yorkers,” which means a council that comes close to representing what this city is actually like for the first time ever. (Gothamist)

Eater NY‘s senior critic Robert Sietsema (whom many of you read for many decades during his tenure at the Village Voice) waxes rhapsodic about the Sicilian slices served at Famous Ben’s Pizza on Spring St, especially the Palermo slice, which is topped with browned bread crumbs instead of cheese. If you need cheese on your pizza, we prefer their traditional tomato sauce and cheese Sicilian. (Eater NY)

While to-go alcohol seems destined to remain a pleasant dream of the recent past, Governor Cuomo signed legislation sponsored by State Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D–Brooklyn) and Assembly Member Pat Fahy (D–Albany) last night to extend sidewalk and road bed restaurant dining for at least another year. Meanwhile the NYC Department of Transportation is still working on plans to turn the pandemic-necessitated emergency Open Restaurants Program into a permanent one; the DOT expects legal work to take place this fall, and to start accepting applications in the winter for a program launch next year. (AMNY)

The dating app Bumble has been looking to open a café in our area for quite a while, and they’ve finally settled on the former Spring Natural space on Kenmare. (Bowery Boogie)

Three On Thursday: Sean Sweeney of SoHo Alliance

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Canal Street Post Office
Canal Street Post Office, photo by Jim Naureckas

Canal Street Post Office
Canal Street Post Office, photo by Jim Naureckas

Three On Thursday is a new weekly column in which area residents name three favorite local establishments they’d like to recommend, and what it is about them they like so much. These are Sean Sweeney‘s selections:

  1. Pino’s Prime Meats on Sullivan, because it offers delicious steaks from $9.99/pound to $69.99/pound, cut to your order. And it is one of the last neighborhood butcher shops in the city. All that is missing is the sawdust on the floor. Newport steak at Pino’s is tender and delicious at about $9.99, a real bargain. They prepare a rack of lamb, all nicely done. Never had a bad cut there. They sell a lot to restaurants, which is an indication of their quality. At Christmas, they sell specialities like cotechino, a round sausage served with lintels during the holiday season. (149 Sullivan, below West Houston)
  2. Raffetto’s on West Houston—well, for starters, any store that makes its own pasta and sauces in the back and that has been around for a century can’t be all that bad. I don’t have to recommend Raffetto’s products: each one cries out, “Buy me.” Do it. You can’t go wrong.  But de riguer are their raviolis and sauces, made there, using the family recipe. Raffetto’s sells the normal dry pasta we are used to but they also sell the moist, fresh pasta itself. Straight from the back and at the end of the counter is a century-old pasta-cutting machine. The customer gets to pick what size to cut the pasta: spaghetti width, or fettucini or linguini widths, for example, or anywhere in between. (144 West Houston, at MacDougal)
  3. The Canal Street Post Office, because it is an Art Deco treasure and it is so airy and grand inside. (Canal and Greene)

Sean Sweeney
Sean Sweeney

Born to Irish parents in Glasgow and raised in Brooklyn, Sean Sweeney moved to SoHo in the 70s and never left. A resident of Greene Street, Sweeney is the long-time director of the community watchdog organization SoHo Alliance, and a former president of the Downtown Independent Democrats.