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News from the Lower East Side
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The Lo-Down is a publication of Lo-Down Productions LLC, 2012.
March 2013
letter from the Editor:
In 1935, the first public housing project in this
country opened on East Third Street at Avenue
A. Today, the New York City Housing Authority
has become almost a city unto itself, housing a
population larger than that of Boston. On the
Lower East Side, one out of every four or five
residents lives in a public development. So it
was a big deal last month when rumors started
to fly about NYCHAs plan to lease millions
of square feet in parking lots and other open
spaces for luxury residential towers. Many ten-
ants are outraged, while others, including some
elected officials, see the proposal as the best
hope of rescuing the agency from a multi-bil-
lion-dollar financial pickle. There is no dispute,
however, about one point: the NYCHA plan
is a potential game-changer on the Lower
East Side. If implemented, it would add twice
as many new apartments as the Seward Park
redevelopment project on Delancey Street, a
deal that was four decades in the making. This
months cover story outlines whats known so
far about the plan, which could be approved by
the federal government in a matter of weeks.
Given NYCHAs refusal to go public with a
detailed proposal, piecing it all together has
not been easy, and new information is surfacing
almost every day. So our report in this issue is a
starting place; well continue to follow devel-
opments in the days ahead, posting frequent
updates to the website. Thanks for picking up
our latest magazine. Well be back next month
with an early-spring edition of The Lo-Down. I
like the sound of that!
in this issue
Cover Story
NYCHAs luxury development plan
New Arrival s
Olde Good Things, Curvaceous K,
Los Perros Locos
Neighborhood News
Pink Pony & Motor City close, high interest
in SPURA, post-Sandy assistance
Arts Watch
Revisiting 1993 at the New Museum
Calendar/Feat ured Events
Thurston Moore at Bowery Ballroom, Street
Shots/NYC at the South Street Seaport
Museum, improv at MOCA
The Lo-Dine
A dining comeback on Clinton Street
Community activist Carlina Rivera
Lower East Sideways
Cover composite by Kim Sillen Gledhill
illustrates public housing sharing land
with private development.
Ed Litvak
New Country Day Camp
A summer in the country, so close to the city.
Kindergarten Grade 6
Bus pick-ups on the Lower East Side!
New Country Day Camp
A summer in the country, so close to the city.
Kindergarten Grade 6
Bus pick-ups on the Lower East Side!
4 www.thelodownny.com
Heres what we know, based on sketchy
details released to local City Council repre-
sentatives, tenant leaders and the Daily
News, which broke the story Feb. 5, relying
on a partial draft of the NYCHA proposal.
The housing authority is initially targeting
eight upurtment complexes, nve of them on
the Lower East Side: the Smith, Baruch, La-
Guardia and Campos Plaza houses and Melt-
zer Towers, a senior housing complex on East
First Street. Two separate development sites
huve been identined within the Smith com-
plex, for a total of six potential sites on the
LES. Ninety-nine-year leases would be of-
fered on various parcels adjacent to public
housing, including parking lots, playgrounds
and community centers. While 80 percent of
the apartments would be market-rate, 20
percent would be reserved for affordable
housing. HYCHA leuders told elected ofn-
cials that the agency would begin asking de-
velopers for proposals by the middle of this
month, though a delay is a good possibility.
On the Lower East Side, more than 1 million
square feet of development is slated. City-
wide, the plan would open the door for pri-
vate developers to create about 4,300 new
The biggest site under consideration is
located at the Alfred E. Smith Houses, a
eal estate boom times are back on
the Lower East Side with a ven-
geunce. Developers ure nxuted on the few re-
maining undeveloped parcels sprinkled
throughout the densely packed neighbor-
hood unlike uny time in the pust nve yeurs.
Properties are rapidly changing hands and
prices are escalating. So maybe it shouldnt
come as such a surprise that the beleaguered
New York City Housing Authority sees op-
portunity in its vast land holdings on the
LES, the birthplace of public housing.
Still, it was a shock to many last month
when word leaked out that the cash-strapped
housing authority was hatching a plan to
offer up property it owns adjacent to public
housing buildings throughout Manhattan,
including six sites on the Lower East Side, for
developers to build luxury apartments.
Many tenants, who have long feared the de-
mise of this countrys largest public housing
system, were outraged and vowed to put up
a f ight.
This a travesty, bellowed tenant activist
Aixa Torres at a recent community meeting.
NYCHA, if you want a war youve got a war!
About one-nfth of ull upurtments in
Community District 3, which is composed of
the LES, the East Village and most of China-
town, are in public housing developments.
12-building complex stretching along the
East River thats named for the four-term
governor, Lower East Side native and
staunch advocate of both public housing
and open space in underserved communi-
ties. NYCHA plans to lease a parking lot
along South Street, just to the north of the
Brooklyn Bridge that, sources say, could ac-
commodate up to 700,000 square feet for resi-
dential development. The second space up
for grubs ut Smith is u pluying neld ut Robert
Wagner Place used by the tenant association
for its annual Family Day picnic. Another
130,000 square feet is available on a site now
used for parking at the LaGuardia Houses,
on Madison Street, next to the Little Flower
Playground. A parking lot on East Houston
Street, now part of the Baruch Houses, is en-
visioned as a 175,000-square-foot develop-
ment site.
While an exact breakdown has not been
made available, sources say the plan could
add more than 2,000 new apartments on the
Lower East Side.
For comparisons sake, consider this: the
entire 1.6 million-square-foot Seward Park re-
development site along Delancey Street, in
which developers are now preparing propos-
als, will create half that number of apart-
ments1,000with 500 to be rented at mar-
By any measure, the projects loom large in
the neighborhood. Five sprawling NYCHA
complexes below East Houston Street have
more than 1,500 apartments each. Yet in
spite of their close proximity to other types of
housing, the projects are largely invisible to
outsiders, easily overlooked by the larger
community. During the current debate,
which the Daily News dubbed NYCHAs
very own Tale of Two Cities, many people
might be tempted to see the luxury plan as
a public housing issue of concern only to
those who live in the projects. But it has
quickly become clear that the housing au-
thority proposal is so sweeping and all-en-
compassing that it is bound to impact the
entire neighborhood, from the Brooklyn
Bridge to East 14th Street.
In a community with one of the largest
concentrations of NYCHA apartments in the
city, the plan that Mayor Michael Bloomberg
calls a creative idea has ignited the next big
battle in the Lower East Sides long-running
wur over gentrincution. It is certuin to rekindle
a familiar debate over the value of public hous-
ing, some pointing to NYCHAs failings, others
contending that the existing public housing
stock is one of the only things keeping the LES
economically and culturally diverse as the
neighborhood continues to go upscale.
www.thelodownny.com 5
By Ed Litvak
photo by Rae Zhang
NYCHA Plan Riles Residents and Portends More Lower East Side Change
Photos: left, February tenant association meeting, Smith Houses; center, Margarita
Lopez, NYCHA board member, listens to residents; right, Alfred E. Smith Houses
6 www.thelodownny.com www.thelodownny.com 7
from developers this month or the month
after that, she assured tenants.
Its the intention of the [housing au-
thority] board to present to the stakeholders
what is to be done and it is a process in which
we are going to work together, she added.
Lopez said some rumors are accurate and
some ure not, but she wus not specinc, except
on one point: she promised that no resident
parking spaces would be lost at the Smith
Houses. Responding to fears that the property
leuse plun is the nrst step to privutizing
NYCHA, Lopez vowed, Not a single unit of
public housing is going to disappear.
Tenants were unconvinced, and were
not shy about telling Lopez
so. Maritza Santiago stood
face to face with the commis-
sioner, explaining that she
had moved to Smith seven
years ago after high-rise de-
velopment came to the Bronx,
driving rents up throughout
her neighborhood. A plan
will be implemented, you
said. What plan?, she asked.
Will the building be sold?
Somewhere along the line we
are going to get pushed out.
Jonathan Gardenhire, 19,
a student at Parsons School of
Design and tenant associa-
tion vice president, said, I re-
spect you and know what
you have done for the LES.
But noting that mayoral candidates
have vowed to replace the NYCHA board, he
observed, you came here and I look at you
and you are just covering your ass.
Iocul elected ofnciuls huve u different
take on the situation. City Council member
Margaret Chin, a lifelong housing activist, be-
lieves the proposal might just be in the best
interests of her low-income constituents.
We have actually been encouraging
NYCHA to make use of these parcels for many
years for affordable housing, she said. Her
goal is to win concessions from the housing
ket rate and 500 affordable units. At Seward
Park, however, there was a four-year com-
munity-driven process to shape the project,
and an exhaustive environmental review
was conducted to determine the impact on
neighborhood infrastructure, schools, tran-
sit, air quality and other factors. NYCHA is
under no obligation to conduct a review and
does not need approval from the local com-
munity boards or the City Council. The agen-
cy will need the blessing of the federal
Department of Housing and Urban Devel-
opment, and is required to consult im-
pacted residents. These provisions are little
consolation to many who live in public
Tenants of the Smith
Houses came out in droves last
month at an emergency meet-
ing to discuss the lease
proposal, which NYCHA sees
as its best hope of closing a $50
million budget gap and of
clearing a backlog of more
than 400,000 maintenance
requests in its aging buildings.
The residents were angry and
frustrated not just about the
housing authoritys develop-
ment agenda but also because
there has been so little trans-
parency and information.
Filling every seat and stand-
ing around the edges of the
gymnasium, they were greeted by NYCHA
board member Margarita Lopez, a familiar
face on the Lower East Side. Before being
appointed to the housing authority board by
Bloomberg in 2006, the longtime affordable
housing advocate represented the neigh-
borhood in the City Council. Lopezs com-
munity roots didnt count for much that
I am here to put a stop to the rumors,
she announced, asserting that many of the
details in news stories and conveyed to local
City Council members were inaccurate. The
agency would not be ready to seek proposals
authority for more affordable units in the
new buildings and for new amenities for pub-
lic housing tenants. At the state level, Assem-
bly Speaker Sheldon Silver expressed concern
about the possibility of NYCHA residents los-
ing critical amenities such as playgrounds,
recreational areas and parking lots.
Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh said he
is open to the leasing plan because the hous-
ing ugency's "nnunciul crisis is reul but
added, I want to make sure theres a public
process that is far more open than what
weve seen in the past. Kavanagh said the
agency had already committed to holding
hearings in impacted communities and he is
hopeful NYCHA will agree to study neigh-
borhood impacts on schools, transit and other
facilities before moving forward. Community
Bourd und elected ofnciuls sent u letter to
NYCHA Chairman John Rhea urging him to
temporarily halt the land plan until commu-
nities can be brought into the process.
Slowing the pace with which NYCHA is
proceeding is ulso the nrst priority for Good
Old Lower East Side, the main advocacy
group organizing tenants. The organiza-
tions executive director,
Damaris Reyes, is also con-
cerned about the amount of
new affordable housing NYCHA
is planning, saying 20 percent
would be absurd and would
trigger all kinds of reactions in
this neighborhood.
NYCHAs money woes, due
to funding cuts at all levels of
government and mismanage-
ment, are obviously the driving
force behind the plan. Its ex-
pected to generate $50 million
in revenue every year. There
are larger concerns, though,
about introducing new, more
aff luent residents to the public
housing ecosystem. The entry-
way to the new luxury tower
adjacent to the Smith Houses
would reportedly face South
Street, away from the projects. A f lyer from
the Smith tenant association expressed wor-
ries about, the socialization of our commu-
nity with new residents who have higher
economic means, creating a possible sce-
nario in which public housing residents
would be treated [as] aliens in our homes.
The Lower East Side is familiar territory
for social scientist Dalton Conley, a professor
at New York University. He was raised at
Masaryk Towers, the low- and middle-in-
come complex adjacent to the Baruch Hous-
es, New Yorks largest public housing devel-
opment. Conley is a proponent of creating
more opportunities for public housing resi-
dents to break out of the cycle of poverty.
Hes skeptical about the NYCHA plan, but
sees the potential for creative solutions to
some of what ails publicly funded housing.
Some would argue that mixed-income
communities create less social isolation, but
on balance this plan seems detrimental.
But he asked, What if, for example, the
funds raised from the luxury housing went into
a public trust for NYCHA tenants? Perhaps they
could, in effect, become landlords. Who knows?
Margarita Lopez
5 Proposed NYCHA Development
Sites,Lower East Side
1. Smith Houses
2. LaGuardia Houses
3. Baruch Houses
4. Meltzer Towers
5. Campos Plaza
Not a
publi c
is going
to dis-

Olde Good Things

8 www.thelodownny.com www.thelodownny.com 9
BEVERLYS (21 Essex St.)
opened last month in the former
Sneaktip storefront across from
Seward Park. A group of partners
with long resumes in the local
nightlife scene launched the
new bar, including Chris Her-
ity, the former lead barista and
cafe manager at Fat Radish; Dan
Sutti, a former bartender at Pink
Pony; and Leah Dixon, a former
manager at Sweet Paradise and
Welcome to the Johnsons. The
tiny space features a handful of
small tables and a 25-foot bar
serving beer, wine and cocktails,
while the as-yet-undecorated walls
are expected to eventually display
art exhibits (several of the partners
are art-school graduates as well).
OLDE GOOD THINGS (302 Bowery, ogtstore.com) brings
a treasure trove of architectural antiques to the neighborhood. The
company, which also operates stores in Chelsea, Union Square and
the Upper West Side (as well as Los Angeles) specializes in late
19th-century and pre-Depression building materials and artifacts.
Glass doorknobs, hand-wrought iron candelabras, claw-foot
bathtubs and an enormous collection of chandeliers are just the
tip of the inventory. In addition to straight-up antiques, Olde Good
Things also repurposes some if its acquisitions into new works, such
as wall mirrors framed with reclaimed tin ceiling tiles and decora-
tive pieces made from salvaged tile and stained glass. The store is
open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
new arrivals
LOS PERROS LOCOS (201 Allen St., losperroslocos.com)
serves a Colombian street-food specialty: all-beef hot dogs piled
high with a wide variety of toppings designed to roll all of the
guilty pleasures you loved as a little nio or nia into one toasted
bun. Topping combinations feature quail eggs, deep fried bacon,
pork rinds, strawberry ancho jam and crushed Doritos. Veggie dogs
and chorizo are available as alternative base layers, as are ham-
burgers. Sides include grilled corn and waffle fries, and there are
several dessert and beer options from Latin America. The restau-
rant is open noon to 4 a.m. daily. Delivery is available from 14th
Street to Broome Street, and from Sixth Avenue to Avenue C.
(207 Clinton St., heights-kenchi.
com) is the first retail store from
menswear designer Yunusa
Kenchi, whose work is based
on the classic garments worn
during the key fashion eras of
the 20th century. Our design
principle is to focus on bringing
a combination of craftsmanship,
individualism and personality to
menswear, Kenchi said in a press
statement announcing the launch
of the new store last month. The
store will also host various events;
its first trunk show was a joint
project with Lois Lane Vintage.
Store hours are from noon to 7
p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and
Saturday, and 1 to 7 p.m. Friday.
CURVACEOUS K (179 Stanton St., cur-
vaceousk.com) proprietor Kathy Sanchez thinks
fashion isnt just for New York Citys size-8-and-
under women. I know that Im not the only
woman out there that loves to look good and
enjoys fashion and happens to be over a size
14, she says. We are everywhere in this city.
And we look good. Her new boutique, opened
in late February, showcases smart looks in plus
sizes from designers such as Queen Grace,
Kiyonna and Full Figured Fashionista, in both
casual and professional styles.
There are all sorts of possibilities.
Given HYCHA's nnunciul shortcom-
ings, these kinds of ideas might seem out-
landish. Most public housing tenants might
be sutisned to huve their drufty windows re-
placed and see security cameras installed.
But Conley made one observation with
which just about anyone living on the LES
can identify.
"I ulwuys thought thut gentrincution
would extend right up to Avenue D, he
suid. "I never imugined gentrincution would
huve innltruted the public housing pro|ects
A parking lot at the Alfred E. Smith Houses is slated for development.
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Last month, several neighborhood bars were target-
ed as part of a crackdown on underage drinking. On
the night of Feb. 14, ocers served paperwork alleging that
minors were being served at PKNY, the artisanal tiki bar on
Essex Street, and Lolita Bar, a low-key neighborhood hang-
out on Broome Street thats in the midst of an ownership
transition. Neither bar was forced to shut down, but their
owners will be required to appear in court to answer to the
NYPDs charges. The alleged violations occurred during
visits by undercover auxiliary police ocers. City attorneys
will likely ask the owners to beef up security and screening
for underage drinkers in exchange for dropping the suits.
The actions echoed a 2011 police initiative in which the 7th Precinct launched a major oensive,
shutting down numerous bars across the neighborhood. Bar operators have complained that the
undercover operations are unfair because doormen and bartenders cannot possibly spot every un-
derage drinker with a fake ID, especially if theyre trained auxiliary ocers. The civil suits rarely go to
trial; instead the city typically negotiates settlements with bar owners in which they agree to beef up
security and screening procedures.
neighborhood news
real estate
An information meeting hosted by New York City planning ocials last month drew more
than 300 people, including some of the citys top real estate developers, contemplating
proposals for the 1.65-million-square-foot Seward Park redevelopment project. The Economic
Development Corp. has invited development firms to bid on the nine sites located between Grand and
Stanton streets and Ludlow and Clinton streets. Among the attendees at a question and answer session
were representatives of prominent developers such as Forest City Ratner, The Related Companies, the
Lefrak Organization, Douglaston Development, Avalon Bay, the Gotham Organization and the Jonathan
Rose Companies. The presence of these firms at the meeting, of course, does not mean all of them will
submit bids for the mixed-use, mixed-income development, but its clear interest is high. Mayor Michael
Bloomberg mentioned Seward Park in his final State of the State address last month, indicating it is
one of his highest development priorities. Bids are due in May. The city hopes to select a developer or
developers by the fall.
February was a tough month on Ludlow Street,
bringing news of the departures of two longtime
nightlife establishments, Motor City and Pink
Pony. Motor City owners Francesca Romeo and Teresa
Farnell said the lease was up on their 17-year-old es-
tablishment, and their landlord did not give them an
option to renew. The rock n roll and Detroit themed
bar opened in 1996 when few businesses (other than
pioneering local haunt Max Fish) dared to make a go of
it in the pre-gentrified neighborhood. Romeo said the
lease at 127 Ludlow St. was set to expire at the end of
February, but they are keeping open the possibilities of
staying a little beyond that date, and considering open-
ing another New York bar. The Motor City shocker came
on the same day that the neighborhood was mourning
the loss of the Pink Pony, whose owner Lucien Bahaj
said his landlord had raised the monthly rent at 176
Ludlow St. from $14,000 to $20,000 per month. The
main reason for all of this is not the health, and not the
business going down; its that the neighborhood has
changed, Bahaj told the Times. Its the ability to carry
on when the original clientele has moved elsewhere.
Bahaj still operates French bistro Lucien on First Avenue.
Chinatown business owners received checks last month.
During February, local shops and restaurants nally received a boost to help them recover
from the after-eects of Hurricane Sandy. Business groups on the Lower East Side and in Chi-
natown allocated funds to local shops and restaurants to replace income and inventory lost during the
week the neighborhood was without electricity in the wake of the storm.The Lower East Side BID, which
raised $10,000 at a November benefit at the DL restaurant on Ludlow Street, awarded grants to Saxelby
Cheesemongers, Goodfellas, Congee Village, Georgias Eastside BBQ, Melt Bakery, Boubouki, Heritage
Meats, Delicate Raymond Jewelry Bar and The Living Room. Bob Zuckerman, the organizations execu-
tive director, said Sandy caused many businesses to suffer in myriad ways We know that every little bit
counts. In a program set up by the Chinatown BID and the Chinatown Partnership, 79 business owners
in Chinatown received grants of about $1,000 each. Those funds came from a benefit dinner and private
donors such as First American International Bank, the Chinese American Independent Practitioner As-
sociation and the Magna Carta Insurance Company, each of whom donated $10,000. About one-third
of the recipients were restaurants, which were forced to throw out a lot of spoiled food. Other recipients
included Chinese herbal medicine stores and beauty salons.
CUNY law professor Jenny Rivera was
conrmed to a seat on the State Court
of Appeals last month, becoming only
the second Latina to serve on New
Yorks highest court. Rivera grew up on
the Lower East Side, though shes lived in
the Bronx for many years. Senate Repub-
licans grilled Rivera during conrmation
hearings, complaining that she had no ju-
dicial experience. Gov. Andrew Cuomo de-
fended his nominee, saying: What makes
a court a great court is a wide perspective.
Noting that Rivera served as an attorney
representing those less fortunate, he add-
ed, She didnt represent big corporations
She wasnt representing wealthy people on
how to arrange their trusts and estates
thats right. She spent her life, through
public service, helping people live their
lives. Rivera,
whos Puerto
Rican, lived
in the Baruch
Houses. Her
mom strug-
gled nancial-
ly, working in
glove and hat
factories. Rive-
ra has degrees
from Princeton
and New York
Lolita Bar, 266 Broome St
12 www.thelodownny.com www.thelodownny.com 13
arts watch
By Robin Schatell
The New Museum opened its latest exhibi-
tion on Feb. 13, and I cant stop thinking about
it. Not because of the individual art workal-
though there are many interesting and compel-
ling pieces in the show, NYC 1993: Experimental
Jet Set, Trash and No Starbut because of the way
it works together to capture a particular time and
pluce. Seventy-nve urtists ure represented in the
show, which nlls every nook und crunny of ull
nve of the museum's exhibition f loors, us well us
its spuce ut :i Boweryu nrst for the museum.
Naturally, I started thinking about that
time and place. What was so special about 1993?
What was happening in New York then, in the
art world, or for that matter, in of the rest of the
country and around the globe? The show takes its
subtitle from New York rock band Sonic Youths
1993 album, and captures the complex exchange
between mainstream and underground culture
ucross disciplines, which cume to denne the urt of
the era.
As I wandered through the exhibition, it be-
came clear that the early 90s were a cultural turn-
ing point both nationally and internationally.
Who can forget that Bill Clinton became the
42nd president in 1993 (some of us were very
happy about that) and that the national debate
on health care, gun control and gay rights began
in full force. The AIDS crisis was very present, and
closer to home. The New York City landscape was
forever chunging thunks to gentrincution. Inter-
nationally, there was conf l ict in Europe, and at-
tempts at peace in the Middle East.
Much of this information is the background
and source material for a number of artists who
nrst cume to prominence in ipp. Hew York urt-
ists such as Janine Antoni, Matthew Barney and
Sean Landers, who are prominently featured in
NYC 1993, exploded on the scene 20 years ago af-
ter their work debuted in the both the Venice and
Whitney Biennial of that year.
I must say, 20 years later, the work is still
compelling and timely. Barneys Drawing Re-
straint described by the artist as an endless loop
between discipline and desire still hold power
with its grotesque video imagery of the masked
and distorted satyr.
In addition, artists from Los Angeles, Britain,
Italy and Germany were making their debuts in
New York, providing a new texture to an already
dynamic scene.
I particularly liked Pepon Osarios installa-
tion The Scene of the Crime (Whose Crime?) also
shown at the 1993 Whitney Biennial, for remind-
ing me of how marginalized New Yorks Puerto
Ricans were and still are.
Nan Goldins Gilles and Gotshco series is
both an intimate and beautiful portrait of love
and loss, and a sad reminder of the devastating
effect AIDS had on the generation coming of age
in 1993.
(continued on p. 20.)
The New Museum Travels Back to NYC 1993
Nari Wards, Amazing Grace
Photo: Jesse Untracht-Oakner, courtesy of the New Museum
Mariners Temple Baptist Church
218th Anniversary Committee presents
An Evening of Inspiration
Featuring songs from her new CD, LOVE IS
Friday, March 22, 2013 7:00 p.m.
doors open at 6:00
Mariners Temple Baptist Church
3 Henry Street (corner of Oliver Street)
New York, NY 10038 | (212) 233-0423
Donations: $40 in Advance
$45 at the Door
$50 VIP Seating
$35.00/seat, groups of 10+

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14 www.thelodownny.com www.thelodownny.com 15
Readings by Martin Hyatt, Luis
Jaramillo and Andrew Zornoza
at BGSQD: Three of NYCs freshest
and most buzzed-about literary
voices, Martin Hyatt, Luis Jaramillo
and Andrew Zornoza, take the stage
at the Bureau to share their latest work.
7 p.m., 27 Orchard St., free, bgsqd.com.
Second Contemporary Israeli Dance
Week at La MaMa: In celebration of
the unique qualities of contemporary
Israeli dance, Michal Gamily and Hila
Gamily-Kaplan curate performances
from the heart of Israels dance commu-
nity. Through March 10, 7:30 p.m., 74A
E. Fourth St., $25, lamama.org.
Target Margin Theaters The ( * ) Inn
at Abrons Arts Center: The shtetl turns
uncanny in Peretz Hirschbeins classic
story of Yiddish life. Target Margins
absurd production promises a perfect
example of how Yiddish drama is as
innovative and challenging as any in the
world. Through March 30, 466 Grand
St., $25, visit abronsartscenter.org for
specific dates and times.
Mike Daisey: On Lying and the Na-
ture of Magic at Joes Pub: Contro-
versial monologist Mike Daisey, who
made national headlines for enhancing
his story, The Agony and the Ecstasy of
Steve Jobs, which was told on NPRs This
American Life and later retracted, performs
a new piece about forbidden things that
everyone does all the time. 9:30 p.m., 425
Lafayette St., $25, joespub.com.
Visit our CALENDAR online at
for more details and to add
your own events.
Russ & Daughters: Reections
and Recipes from the House that
Herring Built at the Tenement
Museum: Former proprietor Mark
Federman tells his renowned story
of an immigrant familys journey from
a pushcart in 1907 to what the NY Times
calls New Yorks most hallowed shrine to the
miracle of caviar, smoked salmon, ethereal herring
and silken chopped liver. 6:30 p.m., 103 Orchard
St., free, tenement.org.
Sonic Youth founder, singer,
songwriter and iconic guitarist
Thurston Moore brings his latest
band, Chelsea Light Moving, to
the neighborhood. Ranked 34th
in Rolling Stones 2004 edition
of the 100 Greatest Guitarists
of All Time, Moore has pro-
duced a prolic library of music,
via solo projects and numerous
collaborations, alongside the
more than 30-year reign of Son-
ic Youth, which went on inde-
nite hiatus in 2011. This latest
collaboration, formed in 2012,
features Samara Lubelski, who
played violin with Moore on his
last two solo LPs, (Demolished
Thoughts and Trees Outside
The Academy) Keith Wood and
John Moloney, aka Pegasus.
The groups eponymous debut
album will be released March 5.
Doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m.,
6 Delancey St., $25, bowery-
MOCAminiMIX: Crossing Frets for
Tapping at MOCA: The Museum
of Chinese in America hosts its third
evening of live improvisation among
contemporary and traditional musi-
cians, singers and dancers. Min Xiao
Fen (pipa) performs with Jin Hi Kim
(komungo) and Max Pollack (rhumba
tap). 8 p.m., 215 Centre St., $15/adult;
$10/advance, mocanyc.org.
Street Shots/NYC at the South
Street Seaport Museum: Photos by
nearly 100 photographers, selected from
more than 5,000 images submitted to
a juried open call, that reflect the spirit
and diversity of street life in the citys five
boroughs. Wednesday through Sunday,
through April 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 12
Fulton St., $10, southstreetseaportmu-
what to do in MARCH
Contemporary Art: 1989 to the
Present: A Roundtable Discussion at
the New Museum: Editors Alexander
Dumbadze and Suzanne Hudson dis-
cuss their recent anthology of essays
by 50 leading voices in contemporary
art. Assessing art over the last two de-
cades, the editors tackle the necessary
question, How it is possible to put
forward a working definition of con-
temporary art? 3 p.m., 235 Bowery,
$8, newmuseum.org.
a t T h e B o we r y B a l l r o o m
C O M I N G I N A P R I L :
Passover Nosh & Stroll at the
Museum at Eldridge Street:
Journey into the kishkes of the old
Jewish Lower East Side on this tasty
expedition. Visit Streits Matzo, The
Pickle Guys and other shops and sites
shedding light on Passover customs,
foods and history. Tours at 11 a.m.
and 2 p.m., 12 Eldridge St., $25,
16 www.thelodownny.com www.thelodownny.com 17
When 71 Clinton Fresh Food opened with
wunderkind chef Wylie Dufresne in 1999, it was
widely credited with launching the Lower East
Sides fine dining scene. By the time Dufresne
opened his own shop, the wildly successful
wd~50, across the street four years later, the
blocks of Clinton Street between Delancey and
Houston seemed destined to become a hotbed
of exciting new cuisine.
While Dufresne racked up award after award,
though, the flow of restaurants around his destina-
tion dining spot surged and ebbed, never quite
reaching critical mass. While Clinton Street Baking
Company has drawn rave reviews and long, loyal
brunch lines since arriving in 2001, and neighbor-
hood joint Alias has demonstrated staying power,
celebrating its 10-year anniversary last year, oth-
ers that seemed destined for long-term success
have come and then gone, most notably Falai
and Frankies, which both closed in 2012. Count-
less others have opened to loud fanfare but then
burned out quickly, such as Eds Lobster Bar.
With the growing popularity of two fledgling
restaurants, Pig and Khao and Yunnan Kitchen,
however, and the impending arrival of ramen hot-
shot Ivan Orkin, the tide may finally be rising for
good on Clinton Street.
We were definitely a little nervous about the
location, given the stigma of Clinton Street, said
Mike Miloscia, the general manager of Pig and
Khao, which opened in late September at 68 Clin-
Clinton Streets Restaurants Rising
By Jennifer Strom
ton St., the former home of Falai. We expected it
to take a while to build up the business, but when
we opened, we opened like gangbusters.
A partnership between Top Chef contestant
Leah Cohen and the team behind Fatty Cue and
Fatty Crab, Pig and Khao offers a Thai-Filipino menu
that has drawn complimentary critical reviews, in-
cluding a spot on Eaters Where to Eat Right Now
list shortly after opening last fall, and a starred re-
view from New Yorks Adam Platt in January.
The southeast Asian menu contains plenty of the
pork in the restaurants name, with the sizzling sisig
(a dish of spicy pork head meat, with egg) being a
top-seller. Another customer favorite is the khao
soi (red curry with coconut milk, chicken and egg
noodles), which is one of the hottest items on the
list. The whole fish in hot and sour broth is a must-
try, as are the lamb ribs. The small plates run up to
$15 each; the larger entres between $25 and $30.
Five months in, many signs point to Pig and
Khaos upward trajectory. Its application for a full
bar permit recently cleared the community board
and is expected to win approval from state authori-
ties in a few weeks (beer, wine, sangria and other
punches are available now). A $39 chefs tasting
menu, available at the counter Monday through
Wednesday, has expanded the food offerings and
given trial runs to new dishes. Weekend brunch
service is scheduled to debut in early March, Milo-
scia said. Last month, reservations for the restau-
rants 43 seats finally became available on Open
Table, which immediately boosted business during
the mid-week and on either side of the 7-10 p.m.
rush hour, when walk-in wait times can stretch un-
comfortably long.
People who live on the Upper East Side, the
Upper West Side, theyve been reading about us
and wanting to try us out, but they werent going
to trek down here on the gamble that they might
get a table, Miloscia said. We saw a dramatic
increase in our destination diners right away.
Local regulars are a big part of Pig and Khaos
business, Miloscia notes, happily. But bringing new
faces to the block not only ensures the survival of
his establishment; it helps other businesses, too.
Theres definitely a vibe on this block that ev-
eryone wants their neighbors to do well, Miloscia
E said. He often sends his hungry patrons across the
street to Donnybrook or Barramundi for a drink,
since Pig and Khaos waiting area gets cramped.
It goes both ways: when Pig and Khaos owners
sought to upgrade their liquor permit, other busi-
nesses nearby, including wd~50 and Streits matzo
factory, circulated petitions for signatures. Meghan
Joye, who owns Donnybrook and serves on Com-
munity Board 3, testified in favor.
That kind of communal support among neigh-
boring business owners, while invisible to the
average diner on a
Saturday night, is
one of the building
blocks of a thriving
commercial district.
Its one of several
factors that have led
to the bustling res-
taurant scene on Or-
chard Street between
Grand and Delancey,
for example.
Shortly after Yun-
nan Kitchen owner
Erika Chou comes
to work at her 10-
month-old restaurant
every day, her phone
rings. Its the owner of
the VIP Bakery across
the street, ordering
Chou to come eat a
Shes become like
my surrogate mom,
said Chou, who recent-
ly recently had the
chance to return the
favor when the bakerys ice machine died.
Chou searched for eight months to find the
right site for her first restaurant before choosing
79 Clinton St., the former home of Lucky variety
store. Converting the long-time store into a large,
gorgeous dining room with an open kitchen and a
spacious bar was a horrible and insane undertak-
ing, she sayid but once the build-out was finished,
the restaurant itself has been smooth sailing.
Chou expanded her hours to be open on Mon-
day nights over the winter, and traffic in her dining
room is often brisk even mid-week. Media buzz,
while not quite reaching the level of hype that
the Fatty Crew generated up the street, has been
steady, including a starred review from the New
York Times and inclusion in the Michelin Guides
Bib Gourmand list of lower-priced haute cui-
sine. Time Out New York named Yunnans lamb
meatballs one of the 100 best foods in the city in
Yunnans cuisine, drawn primarily from the
southwestern China province it is named for and
overseen by Chef Travis Post, features share-size
plates of cold and hot dishes, skewers called shao
kao and bowls of noodle and rice dishes, all at
under $11 each. The whole fried shrimp combine
crunchy and meaty
textures in a delight-
ful way. The pickled
papaya salad deliv-
ers a pleasing zing,
and the mala chick-
en, they will warn you
up front, contains
a mouth-numbing
spice. Thats not to
say there arent lots
of options for those
who dont embrace
spicy food, and its
also a great spot to
take vegan friends.
Like Pig and Khao,
Yunnans clientele of
destination diners
has been growing in
recent months, Chou
said, with patrons
arriving from West-
chester and outer
It wont be long
before new restau-
rants are arriving
nearby as well.
Chou is excited about Calexico, a California-
Mexican burrito and beer joint, moving into the
former Bondi Road space around the corner at
153 Rivington St., as well as a new Japanese
place, Sushi Ko, thats planned at 91 Clinton St.,
just a few doors away from Yunnan.
Im really happy about that; I feel like they fit
the neighborhood really well, she said. Im glad
to see a lot of restaurants moving in, especially
restaurants rather than bars. Food is much more
interesting than booze.
The incoming restaurant generating the big-
gest buzz this winter is Ivan Ramen, a ramen noo-
Pig and Khao opened in late September.
Erika Chou opened Yunnan Kitchen in May.
photo by Alex M. Smith
(continued on page 19)
photo by Zandy Mangold
18 www.thelodownny.com www.thelodownny.com 19 18 www.thelodownny.com
where else? I love this neighborhood for so many
reasons; it has such a sense of community. I must
say good morning to at least half a dozen peo-
ple before I walk the 12 blocks to work every day
(cue my Disney princess moment).
Favorite block in the neighborhood?
Stanton Street, of course. I walk my dog past the
Virgin Mary, a synagogue, my favorite local bar
where everybody knows my name (shout out to
Donnybrook!), some stoop Lady Gaga jacked the
rent on, and old signs on new businesses that
leave me a little nostalgic. I also really love Or-
chard Street.
Favorite date spot in the neighborhood?
Elsas for a cocktail, and just across the street for
dinner at Caf Cortadito. Cool little places with just
enough ambiance to keep it fun. I thought the gar-
den at Maxs on Avenue B was pretty sweet too.
Favorite coee in the neighborhood?
Tough, but itd have to be Atlas Caf on Clinton.
What do you do?
I manage programming at Good Old Lower East
Side, serving and organizing seniors around the is-
sues affecting their quality of life every day. GOLES
is an amazing nonprofit that does a little bit of ev-
erything in the name of social justice. Im also a
member of the community board.
How long have you lived on the LES?
Born and raised, when nobody knew where Stan-
ton Street was and the drug dealers wore D.A.R.E.
T-shirts gangsta. Gritty and wild, but still a great
place to raise a kid!
What drew you to the neighborhood?
I guess a better question is why havent I lived any-
Croissants, good coffee and a bench outside
where you can watch people walk under the tree
archway [across the street] and wonder just how
low the branches will get before the garden has to
tie them back again. I do appreciate 9th Street
Espressos strong brew, and after 10 cups I get one
free. Casa Adela steams the milk, which seems to
be a lost art and is a great reminder to have Bust-
elo with the fam as soon as possible. A few bode-
gas out there also deserve an honorable mention.
(I take my coffee kind of seriously.)
Where do you take your visitors when
theyre here?
The Essex Street Market, Tompkins Square Park, a
couple museums and to see live music. I also have
a couple walking/eating tours that are a hit, which
include great meals at some world-famous eater-
ies, and walking through Chinatown, Little Italy, the
East Village and the LES. Pancakes, dim sum,
smoked fish, pastrami, pho and gelato, appropri-
ately followed by a cold beer at Top Hops. They
get to hear a little history and see some great stuff
along the way. Youre welcome!
How do you feel about recent changes in
the neighborhood?
I really try not to complain but I just cringe when I
think of the LES being a mecca for those solely inter-
ested in gaudy clubs, pretentious bars and boutique
hotels. I love dancing, whiskey and fine bed linens
but lets keep the development tasteful and digni-
fied. What makes this place so special is the diver-
sity of people and places and its getting more dif-
ficult to hold on to that. My neighbors, friends and
family have been getting pushed out and displaced
for years and that is not cool. You know whats cool?
Organizing and uniting to build power and make
positive change. Still though, this hood is awe-
What new establishment have you been
wanting to try?
As much as I try to keep up with the SLA agenda put
before me monthly, I mostly just have a list of places
Ive wanted to try which continues to grow: Mahar-
lika, Yunnan Kitchen, wd~50, Sorella, Caf Katja, on
and on. The options in this area are limitless.
Favorite LES memory?
Almost three decades worth, so let me try and nar-
row it down chronologically. Learning to ride my bike
in East River Park and washing down victory with a
For our regular feature spotlighting the
people who live and work on the Lower
East Side, we talked with local activist and
neighborhood native Carlina Rivera.
can of Sunkist, bouncing those giant rubber balls
they sold at Pathmark with my sister until they finally
threatened to call my mom from customer service,
buying 37 pieces of candy at the Jewish bakery on
Columbia with change I found in my sofa, shopping
at Luckys (for jacks, a whoopee cushion and a back-
pack in one go), hide-and-seek at Tompkins when
the slide was yellow and so was one side of my re-
versible Bear bubble coat, standing on line for Jor-
dans on Delancey Street, and my first ace in handball
at First Park. Ive also had some really great birthday
celebrations along the way that involve rooftop views
and Venieros strawberry shortcake, so I guess Ive
been pretty lucky all these years.
(continued from page 17)
gest buzz this winter is Ivan Ramen, a ramen
noodle joint by American chef Ivan Orkin.
Orkin, who draws descriptors like ramen
impresario and noodle guru in the foodie
press, runs two popular restaurants in Tokyo
and plans to open his first U.S. restaurant at 25
Clinton St. this spring.
Ivan Ramen on the LES is official! he
posted on Twitter Jan. 30. Looking forward
to new beginnings, new neighbors and new
Sign up TODAY!
20 www.thelodownny.com www.thelodownny.com 21
Works from artists from earlier generations,
including Ida Applebroog, Mary Beth Edelson,
Robert Gober and Paul McCarthy, who produced
some of their most powerful works in 1993, are
presented alongside their younger cohorts.
I sturted on the nfth f loor, where u video
timeline cleverly displays pivotal events from
the year: January 6, 1993, ballet dancer Rudolf
Nureyev dies at 54, though the true cause of his
deathcomplications from an AIDS-related ill-
nessis not reported for another 10 days.
April 21, 1993, President Clintons stimulus
arts watch
(continued from p.13)
bill is nlibustered by Senute Republicuns in his
nrst serious legislutive defeut.
November 4, 1993, Sothebys auctions 88
works by Picasso from the Stanley Seeger collec-
tion, selling every one.
I almost got stuck up there. But then luck-
ily, I gave myself enough time to explore the art
itself and be transported back in time.
In addition to the exhibition, the museum
is hosting a series of public programs and discus-
sions about the cultural and political develop-
ments of the early 90s.
NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash
and No Star runs through May 26. The
New Museum is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
on Wednesdays, and Friday through
Sunday. Thursday hours are 11 a.m. to
9 p.m., with free admission from 7 to
9 p.m. Visit newmusuem.org for a full
schedule of events.
Dr. Shu Ping Rong, D.D.S. P.C.
1 2 8 Mo t t St . , Su i t e 5 0 7 , Ne w Yo r k , NY 1 0 0 1 3
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