Recent Posts in NYC

February 10, 2016

(photo via @drbear_ny)
2018 L Train

There was another public meeting about the impending work on the L Train's Canarsie Tunnel that, no matter how it's done, is going to take a long time. Gothamist was there:

As Lentol told the Daily News, there are several plans under serious consideration. One would close the Canarsie tube completely for at least 18 months. Another option would close just one of the two tunnels that comprise the Canarsie tube, allowing continued service between Brooklyn and Manhattan--albeit at less frequent intervals--and taking at least three years. A third alternative, limiting tunnel work to nights and weekends, would allow regular daytime service but would take at least five and, as Levin said, as many as seven years.

Lentol said that work will likely begin in 2018. At Tuesday night's meeting, Levin emphasized the importance of starting sooner rather than later, given the currently available federal funds for Sandy recovery.

"We have federal funds right now, about $700 million of federal funds, for Sandy recovery that can be dedicated to this, so that's the lion's share of what it would cost to do a significant amount of work there, and that's not money you can always count on being there, to be honest with you," Levin said. "We don't know what's going to happen with a new administration on the federal level, so...probably the prudent thing to do is to start looking ahead as soon as possible on how to do this."

Clearly this is far from over. The MTA are promising to "to meet regularly with residents, businesses and others affected by the Canarsie Tube work, as well as to consult with elected officials representing the affected areas, before making any decisions about the construction process and service alternatives." The next public meeting happens Wednesday, February 24t at 6:30 p.m. at 211 Ainslie Street.

by Klaus Kinski

1915 Gibson Style U Harp Guitar

As a musician and a hoarder, I've got a wicked soft spot for fine, high-priced musical instruments as well as oddball music memorabilia, signed or otherwise. As an impoverished piece of human garbage who lives paycheck to paycheck, I can only enjoy such items as fantasy from afar. I covet and I dream. New York City auction house Guernsey's has a guitar and memorabilia auction coming up on February 27 that will have on the auction block an unbelievable amount of rare guitars and memorabilia that will have guitar fetishists everywhere reeling. There's an auction preview from noon - 8pm on February 25 & 26 at Bohemian National Hall (321 East 73rd Street) where broke ass lookie-loos like me can go and dream. Bring a bib:

The approximately three hundred lots in the sale are roughly divided equally between fine acoustic instruments dating as far back as 1880 right through beautiful, recently-made examples, and sensational electric guitars, many of which are associated with well-known musicians. Bidders will encounter instruments from Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Tony Mottola (accompanying Frank Sinatra) and Franny Beecher who, following years with Benny Goodman's big band, became the lead guitarist for the legendary Bill Haley and the Comets. The "In Cold Blood" pair of guitars in the auction must constitute one of the most unusual musical offerings ever: those who vividly recall the legendary Truman Capote book and movie will remember that Perry Smith, the much-analyzed killer, toted his guitar everywhere. A single lot in this auction will contain both the instrument used by Robert Blake playing the role of Smith in the Academy Award-winning film, and the actual guitar used by the real-life killer!
The first 155 lots feature signed guitars, though more often than not they are signatures inked upon rather generic and crappy guitars. Other items include gold & platinum records, signed photos, signed drumheads, and other bits of memorabilia all professionally matted and framed.

The fun really begins in Session II (lots 200-331) which features a jaw-dropping assortment of rare and antique acoustic guitars, hollow body guitars, electric guitars, banjos, lap steels, as well as amplifiers from brands like Gibson, Fender, Martin, Harmony, Ibanez and more.

Session III (lots 400 - 496) is basically a continuation of the types of gear featured in Session II, but there are a few more mandolins and oddities thrown in such as lot 419, a 1915 Gibson Style U Harp Guitar, which might be one of the craziest guitars I have ever seen.

The auction catalog can be viewed here.

A$AP Rocky and friends modeling his Guess line

We are in the midst of New York Fashion Week 2016, the glitziest time of year in the city. In addition to all the fashion shows, there are tons of parties, many of them with a music theme. Kanye West is throwing a big one at Madison Square Garden on Thursday (2/11) which will double as a premiere party for his new album. Tickets are still available.

Most of these NYFW parties, however, are much smaller and invite-only. But that never stops people from trying to scam their way in, though. For example, A$AP Rocky will celebrate his new limited-edition Guess Originals collection with a party at Lower East Side club The Box on Thursday. He'll perform, as will A$AP Twelvyy, Playboi Carti and Cozy Boys. Rocky's Guess Originals collection will be officially be available next week (you can order online now though), and for his line the familiar GUESS logo becomes GUE$$. He talked to The Hollywood Reporter about it:

I actually looked into the archives just to see what was available and after that my main focus was silhouettes and reconfigurations, because I didn't want it to fit exactly like those jeans back then, when they were so big and baggy. I wanted to give kids today knowledge of what Guess meant to Hip Hop and the urban community in the nineties and late eighties. From the drug dealer on the corner with the t-shirt, the rapper Nas saying 'When I get dressed, it's nothing less than Guess' and Tupac in the movie Juice
Elsewhere this Fashion Week...

There's a NYFW tribute to David Bowie happening at Electric Room below Dream Downtown on Friday (2/12). The band is made up of fashion people (Michael H, Andy Hilfiger, etc), but they're promising appearances by drummer Sterling Campbell (B-52's) and Earl Slick and others. Invite only.

Ra Ra Riot will perform at Gramercy Hotel's Rose Bar on Wednesday, February 17. Also invite only but they do play Webster Hall next month.

January 29, 2016

(via @BushwickDaily)

Since the news broke that the L Train's Canarsie Tunnel, which connects Manhattan to Brooklyn, could be shut down for years for repairs, folks have been wondering what this will really mean for commuters, business owners and residents who rely on the L every day. Well, the data company CartoDB have released some maps that are able to visualize what the transit situation will look like and, surprise, it doesn't look great. Via DNAInfo:

It would take 1,154 bus trips a day with departures every 1.5 minutes if the MTA is to come anywhere close to offering a reasonable alternative to the subway line, according to maps released by data company CartoDB.

They show that if the Canarsie tube is shut down for repairs -- an option being considered by the MTA -- the fastest a shuttle bus would be able to get from Bedford Ave., the last stop in Brooklyn, into Manhattan is under 20 minutes.

The research found that anyone living past the Grand Street stop -- the fourth Brooklyn station on the line -- would be better off using either the A train if they're near Broadway Junction or the M train at Myrtle Avenue than a shuttle bus.

"There's no way city streets can handle that much traffic," CartoDB map scientist Andy Eschbacher said.

"If there are shuttle buses, [the trip] isn't likely to be 20 minutes."

One of the maps, showing ease of access to alternate routes to manhattan, is below and there is a whole lot more dizzying detail over at CartoDB.

Unsurprisingly, business owners along the L line -- especially those near the now affluent Bedford Ave. stop in Williamsburg -- are upset. There was a Town Hall meeting last night (1/28) at Brooklyn Bowl, and Eater was there:

A large emphasis of the meeting, which was co-hosted by a slew of elected officials and local bar and restaurant owners, was the impact a potential shutdown would have on the economy. "The businesses, quite honestly, will shut down," says Carlo Scissura, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. "The people will move out of this vibrant neighborhood." Like with previous L train shutdowns, the MTA will likely have contingency plans, such as increasing G and M train service, but more buses and ferries will not be enough to counteract the economic impact of no L train, some say. "Until we know that there are no other options, we shouldn't even entertain that option," one small business owner argued.

The people in the group organizing around the issue, called The L Train Coalition, say they will be moving future meetings further down Brooklyn to include people from across the L train, including commuters and residents. They'll be sending another letter to the MTA with requests for more information, in concert with many of Brooklyn's elected officials. The turnout for the event shows just how much people care about the issue, Rosen says. "People are going to fight for it," he says. "We're going to keep pushing."

If you're interested, the next meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 24, at the Swinging Sixties Senior Center (just off the Graham Ave stop) at 6:30 p.m.

Needless to say, stay tuned.

Continue reading "more on the possible L Train shutdown nightmare"

January 13, 2016

L Train stop with Craig Finn ad
Craig Finn

Well here's very bad news for anyone who lives on the L line and likes to travel between Brooklyn and Manhattan: Gothamist reports that proposed (and much-needed) repairs to the Carnarsie Tube (the tunnel between the 1st Ave and Bedford Stops), which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, may mean shutting down service between the two boroughs, a process that could last years. They write:

Like the R train's Montague Tube, the L train's Canarsie Tube was flooded with saltwater and severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy. The Montague Tube was shut down and repaired in 13 months--one month and $58 million under budget--while riders found other ways to get to work.

The project to repair the Canarsie Tube is projected to take three years, and the MTA is considering shutting down service between Manhattan and Brooklyn entirely to get it done, according to MTA sources familiar with the initiative. In this scenario, Manhattan-bound L service would terminate at Bedford Avenue, the line's busiest station.

There's still some hope for those whose commutes will be affected by this though: "The MTA is planning on increasing M train service, adding two cars to G trains, and running a system of shuttle buses; the sources say that the tunnel work is slated to begin in late 2017."

There's still debate over what the best way to handle these repairs would be, but it seems inevitable that it won't be convenient for subway riders.

December 23, 2015


The church that housed Peter Gatien's iconic 80s/90s NYC club Limelight has been a few different things since the music stopped. There were the new clubs Estate and Avalon. Then the high-end mall called Limelight Marketplace opened in 2010. The shopping center was three floors but then scaled down to one when a David Barton Gym opened there in 2014. Attached to the shops is a Grimaldi's). and now the venue, or more specifically the old Shampoo room, also houses a new upscale Chinese restaurant called the Jue Lan Club (pronounced "You Lan").

More than any other business in the establishment, the new Chinese restaurant is referencing the old club in various ways. That includes The Gatien Room, a Warhol-inspired private dining room named after Limelight owner Peter Gatien (complete with old club kid trading card wallpaper). From a press release:

Named after a 1930s Chinese art society, the bi-level, 275-seat restaurant is located in the historic church on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan and will open Winter 2015.

"I am very excited about my new partnership with The Jue Lan Club and the formation of the brand, which Stratis and I will build together, both in the United States and abroad. Stratis and I have been friends for two decades and have always wanted to work together," says Vikram Chatwal.

Jue Lan Club is from restaurateur Stratis Morfogen, the Founder and former owner of Philippe, along with partners Robert Collins from Lure Fish Bar and Richie Romero. At the helm of the kitchen will be Partner and Executive Chef Oscar Toro, the former executive sous-chef of Buddakan. Chef Toro will introduce one of the first Chinese raw bars, as well as unique a la carte tasting menu options, a dim sum brunch served on rolling carts and a variety of traditional Chinese dishes. The space will feature two beautifully designed dining rooms, an event space, an intimate, private dining room and a spectacular outdoor garden. The restaurant will also incorporate historical details from the legendary Limelight, including a Gatien room, named after the former owner, Peter Gatien.

"Vikram and I have been friends for over 17 years and have been trying to find a way to work together but the timing hasn't been right until now," says Stratis Morfogen. "The Dream's clientele compliments our vision for Jue Lan Club seamlessly. Vikram believes in our concept for the Jue Lan Club and in Chef Oscar Toro's abilities. We're excited to partner with Vikram and Dream Hotels for the expansion of our brands."

Former Gatien employee and club director Steven Lewis turned club designer designed the landscaping of the outdoor seating courtyard, as he confirms on his blog.

December 17, 2015

Martin Shkreli arrested

Phamacutical CEO, AIDS drug price-hiker, former Collect Records backer and $2 million buyer of that Wu-Tang album, Martin Shkreli was just talking about bailing out jailed rapper Bobby Shmurda... and now Shkreli himself has been arrested. Thursday morning (12/17) federal agents apprehended him in his Manhattan home on charges of "securities fraud related to a firm he founded." From Bloomberg News:

Prosecutors in Brooklyn charged him with illegally taking stock from Retrophin Inc., a biotechnology firm he started in 2011, and using it to pay off debts from unrelated business dealings. He was later ousted from the company, where he'd been chief executive officer, and sued by its board.

In the case that closely tracks that suit, federal prosecutors accused Shkreli of engaging in a complicated shell game after his defunct hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management, lost millions. He is alleged to have made secret payoffs and set up sham consulting arrangements. A New York lawyer, Evan Greebel, was also arrested early Thursday. He's accused of conspiring with Shkreli in part of the scheme.

Retrophin replaced him as CEO "because of serious concerns about his conduct," the company said in a statement. The company, which hasn't been accused of any wrongdoing, has "fully cooperated with the government investigations into Mr. Shkreli."

When Shkreli was sued by his former employer Retrophin, he said "The $65 million Retrophin wants from me would not dent me. I feel great. I'm licking my chops over the suits I'm going to file against them." Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers will discuss the case at a press conference later today in Brooklyn. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: The FBI released a detailed statement on the arrest. Shkreli and attorney Evan Greebel, a former partner at the New York office of Katten Muchin, were charged with "Defrauding Former Hedge Funds Investors and Then Misappropriating More Than $11 Million in Assets from Publicly Traded Retrophin Inc. to Pay Back Defrauded Investors." You can read the whole thing.

But as to the big question on everyone's mind:

Stay tuned.

December 15, 2015

Smiths night at Sway (via Facebook)
sway lounge

West Side downtown club Sway, one of NYC's it clubs in the late-'90s/early-'00s (when nearby Don Hill's was going strong) will close on December 27. Onetime known as a cool collision of artists, hipsters, filmmakers, musicians and occasional Lindsay Lohan DJ sets, these days Sway may be best-known for its ever-popular Smiths Night parties on Sundays. Sway will close with a Smiths Night (12/27) and there's one this Sunday (12/20), too. Manager Pebbles Russell told Gothamist, "It was just time for it to close," saying diminishing crowds were not a factor.

December 9, 2015

Patricia Field

Costume designer and downtown style icon Patricia Field will close her famed boutique in 2016 after 50 years in business. Originally opened in the West Village in 1966, her store moved to the East Village in 1971, and has been in its current location (306 Bowery) since 2012. She told Racked:

"The timing is right [to close] Bowery," she continued. "I feel like I've been watching the Bowery change since I bought my first property. I watched what was going on in the early 2000s, and was like, 'I'm going to move my store here because this street is hopping.' Fast forward ten years or whatever, and there's all this really high-status luxury"...

...But the street's newfound image -- and the soaring costs that typically come along with it -- have nothing to do with the store's end. "It's not financial," she reiterated of her decision to close, a phrase that not many independent business owners can say these days. "I'm okay, financially. It's mainly to free myself creatively. And lately, my social life has gone down the drain. I haven't gotten to the gym to swim anymore. I sleep and I work -- I have to change that. It's not good for me."

Field became much better-known outside of New York when her friendship with Sarah Jessica Parker got her the gig as costume designer on Sex & the City and has gone on to work on Ugly Betty, The Devil Wears Prada, and more.

Patricia Field's store will close in April. She's currently also got a holiday pop-up shop as part of the Dover Street Market.

November 23, 2015

ARC Holiday Sale 2015ARC Holiday Sale 2015

NYC's ARChive of Contemporary Music will hold its annual Holiday Record & CD Sale in the ARC offices in TriBeCa from December 5 - December 20 which happens daily from 11 AM - 6 PM. ARC says its their biggest holiday sale ever (and an extra week long because of it), with over 50,000 items for sale, including:

WINTER specials - The most mint and sealed LPs we've ever offered. Fab group of Punk singles.

PLUS - what? Classical 45s? Yes, and more. Incredible selection of jazz CDs • original vintage '60s psychedelic posters from the Grande Ballroom in Detroit • RARE Fillmore East programs • picture discs • turntables + audio equipment • vintage rock + music magazines • shelves of amazing jazz books • most classical LPs are 2 for $1 • DVDs + VHS (and maybe some LaserDiscs too)

20,000 CDs this year • MANY Out-of-Print! Hundreds @ 2 for $1.00
Mostly pop + rock recordings.

For those who aren't into buying records and CDs there will also be ARC's "Astroturf Yard Say" featuring vintage kitchen wares and clothing. As always, your first shot at the loot will be the Cocktail Party on December 3 featuring complimentary Two Boots Pizza and beverages from City Winery. You need to be an ARC Member to attend which you can do for as little as $50. It's tax deductible... as is donating records and CDs to ARC. They'll even come to you and pick them up.