Photo of a previous year’s Festival by Melvin Audaz
In 1987, Avenue C was renamed Loisaida Avenue, “a Spanglish name for the Lower East Side, connoting the Puerto Rican and Latinx community which have had a significant presence there since the mid-20th century,” explained Village Preservation executive director Andrew Berman. That same year on the Sunday before Memorial Day, the vibrant community hosted the first Loisaida Festival to celebrate their neighborhood’s culture. Thirty-four years later, and the Festival is still going strong. For the second year, the event will be virtual on two Sundays–May 23 and 30–featuring an exciting roster of musicians, performers, and family-friendly entertainment.
Photo by Americasroof via Wikimedia Commons
After 42 years, the East Village’s legendary Pyramid Club has closed permanently, as was first reported by EV Grieve. The club at 101 Avenue A is “credited with creating the East Village drag and gay scenes of the 1980s, launching a new politically-conscious form of drag performance art in the early 1980s,” according to Andrew Berman of Village Preservation, and is the place where celebrated performers such as Lady Bunny and RuPaul got their start. The Pyramid Club has remained closed since the pandemic began, as nightclubs were never permitted to reopen until now, but the burden of the past year made the owners decide to shut down for good.
Photo by City Foodsters on Flickr
Big Gay Ice Cream’s first brick-and-mortar location has permanently closed, as EV Grieve reported on Thursday. The East Village store at 125 East 7th Street opened its doors in 2011 after operating as an ice cream truck for two years. According to the neighborhood blog, the store has been closed since Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s coronavirus pandemic “pause” order in March and now a for-rent sign hangs in the window.
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Listing photos courtesy of Brown Harris Stevens
Fashion model and Lucchese designer Erin Wasson and her husband, restaurateur Bart Tassy, have put their East Village loft on the market for $2,650,000. Located at 175 East 2nd Street, between Avenues A and B, the 1,500-square-foot home has incredible beamed ceilings, exposed beams and brick, and two beautiful skylights. There’s also a 1,400-square-foot private roof deck with views as far as the Financial District and Chrysler Building. The couple bought the unit for $1,650,000 in 2006 and listed it as a $10,000/month rental in 2017.
All photos courtesy of Gem Spa
While you can no longer order an egg cream at Gem Spa in the East Village, which closed its doors for good in May, you can own a piece of the legendary institution. The landmark newsstand, which has been located on the corner of St. Marks Place and Second Avenue for a century, is auctioning off iconic memorabilia and signage from the store, including its bright yellow storefront sign, egg cream equipment, and gates with designs by the artist Paul Kostabi. The auction has been extended to January 7 at 10 p.m.
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All photos © James and Karla Murray exclusively for 6sqft
Tucked away on East 11th Street between First and Second Avenues is a small rubber stamp shop, which, according to the small sign in its window, is “closed when not open” and “open when not closed.” Casey Rubber Stamps is filled from floor to ceiling with rubber stamps that have all been handmade by John Casey and his two team members. John Casey is originally from Cork, Ireland and first founded his shop in 1979 on Seventh Avenue South in the West Village. He moved the shop to the East Village 19 years ago but still makes his stamps the old-school way with a negative, a plate, and a mold process that is both more time consuming and expensive than newer methods involving liquid polymer materials or laser cutting. Ahead, go behind the scenes to see how all the amazing rubber stamps are made, tour the interior and workspace, and learn about the shop’s history from John Casey.
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The bar on opening day, courtesy of Finnerty’s
Considered New York City’s unofficial San Francisco sports bar, Finnerty’s announced this morning that it’s permanently closing its East Village location. For the past 11 years, the Irish pub on Second Avenue has been a go-to spot for Giants and 49ers fans, even hosting the Giant’s World Series trophy three times. “The pandemic, along with being unable to reach an agreement with our landlord, forced our hand. There just wasn’t any way forward for us,” said Finnerty’s owners Dieter Seelig and Brian Stapleton.
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When Veselka first opened on the corner of 2nd Avenue and East 9th Street in 1954, the business was a small candy shop and newspaper stand. Sixty-years later, and the Ukrainian restaurant serves up 21,000 pierogis, 2,500 latkes, and 110 gallons of borscht each week. That is until the pandemic hit. In September, owner Tom Birchard spoke about how the restaurant was struggling. But thanks to a dedicated customer base filling its heated sidewalk seating and indoor tables, as well as a growing delivery and national shipping arm, Veselka is expanding to the space next door, as was first reported by EV Grieve. The addition will be complete with a new “sushi bar-style counter that will showcase the restaurant’s pierogi-making process,” according to the New York Times.
Photo by Peter Cooper
The Public Theater will debut this week a new art installation that honors Black American lives lost to police brutality. Starting November 11, the facade of the East Village theater will display “SAY THEIR NAMES,” a visual exhibit that includes at least 2,200 names of Black people killed at the hands of police between 2013 and 2020. Curated by Garlia Cornelia Jones, the projection covers the entire building at 425 Lafayette and features work by ten artists.
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Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village in June 2019. Map data © 2020 Google
Before the entire East Village was a hub of hip food, the stretch of East 7th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue was somewhat of a pioneer in the new guard of restaurants, and one of the first places to set up here was Caracas Arepa Bar. In 2003, the Venezuelan restaurant was opened by owners Maribel Araujo and Aristides Barrios, who met at another arepa bar in the city of Caracas and often get credit for popularizing arepas in the city. But, sadly, after 17 years, the restaurant is the latest to fall victim to the pandemic and announced on Instagram that the last day for their East Village location will be November 8.