Nostalgists for urban violence can pretend they're Niko Bellic, the immigrant hardman who stumbles through the crime-ridden version of New York City in the latest version of Grand Theft Auto. Or they can adopt the perspective of another Serb, photographer Nikola Tamindzic, who has staged yet another scene of blood and nakedness on the sidewalks of the Lower East Side. More photographs at Home of the Vain.
The Lower East Side, a Manhattan quarter now overrun by bars for hipsters and drunken yuppies from Murray Hill, was once an authentic working-class neighborhood. And it had even more lager dens and other drinking establishments than it does now, as demonstrated by this 1882 map of New York's "liquordom". So shut up already about the ruin of the Lower East Side. [via Time Out]
In front of that vintage store Daha on the Lower East Side, around 11 p.m. last night, a couple was overheard having "the talk." He just didn't want to be in a relationship. She wanted him to be more emotionally transparent. He was wearing a Planet of the Apes mask. This was the day after Halloween.
The West Village restaurant Market Table occupies the old home of the legendary Shopsin's. Shopsin's and its mercurial owner Kenny Shopsin have since moved to a smaller place in the Lower East Side's Essex Street Market. Now, Market Table is the child of Little Owl's Joey Campanaro and Gabriel Stulman and ex-Mermaid Inn chef Mikey Price. Aesthetically it follows the low key luxury of Little Owl, while the menu reflects Price's fixation on seafood. The place is a lot like the West Village without Shopsin's: rich, unoffensive, restrained.
So, Tuesday night, former Seventeen editor and current girly-empire-building MySpace queen Atoosa Rubenstein goes to ridiculous Lower East Side hotspot The Box. Some trannies were doing a show, with some person of indeterminate gender stripping for a midget and simulating fellatio. (Louche times!) The climax of the act: Shim/herm stands up and has what looks like ejaculate running down his/her face. Atoosa is in a booth right in front of the stage there. And the M.C. says, "See, girls, this is why you should always swallow." And then looks right at Atoosa, and says, "You don't look like you swallow. You look like a guzzler."
Is it or is it not hard to believe the New York Post's recent story on the Chinatown brothels on Eldridge Street? The tabloid claims that pimps are recruiting our children! Specifically, they say fellas on the street were hitting up high school students from Pace, distributing business cards promising low, low prices for women. ($35, according to a plainclothes cop.) Stranger things have happened!
A Box patron sent in the following in response to our query: "I happened to be at the Box night of raid. Very shocking to say the least. Didn't know what was going on as cops checked liquor bottles behind the bar with flashlights and went through every nook and cranny of the place. Still people were drinking and dancing like nothing was going on. Cuba made a quick exit as we were all hanging out at his table." Yeah, maybe it was a sound complaint, but maybe it was also not a sound complaint.
Some news from deep inside The Box: "It was a sound complaint. Then the police told people to leave but obviously once you drop thousands on a couple bottles and table you don't wanna go so patrons left the building belligerent with open bottles and they were arresting them all over the sidewalk." Mmm... okay! But what about the whole searching people in line for the bathroom? How does that jibe with a noise complaint? Maybe the bathroom line was really, really loud.
Spitzer's Corner, an alleged gastropub that opened recently on the Lower East Side at Rivington and Ludlow, has 39 beers on tap. Its menu, designed by ex-Le Bernadiniere Mike Cooperman, is much less ambitious. Six entrees, a splatter of apps and a couple of slimy raw bar items. The interior is prairie sparse. If Laura Ingalls Wilder wanted to go out downtown, she'd probably choose this place. When I sat at the bar recently, the guy who built the place sat next to me. He was explaining to his friend that the wood that lines the walls is made from reclaimed pickle barrels from Minnesota. On my left, a quartet of gently snarpy dudes were getting in an increasingly heated argument about whether the wood was new or old. "Nah, brah!" one man shouted, "they bought the wood new and aged it to look like this." I stared into my burger.
Remember when we speculated that the next secret celebrity hotspot would be the upstairs of Barnes and Nobles on Thursday evenings? We weren't too far off. As the Observer observes, the new "it" spot is that bench in front of American Apparel at Houston and Orchard. "The Bench," as the bench is called, was founded by DJ Big Black Matt Goias, a sneaker "impresario" named Ari Forman and Moby's best friend, a guy named Fancy.
Last night on the Lower East Side, nearing the intersection of Stanton and Orchard, the smell of burning brakes hung in the air. On Orchard, in front of the shuttered Slipper Room, two cars lay crushed under tons of rubble. A husk of another vehicle flamed nearby. Immediately the recent events of 7/18 came to mind. I started to run.
The signature pie at Chickie Pig's, the latest Lower East Side brick oven pizzeria, is a thin crust pizza topped with mozzarella, tomato, prosciutto di parma, ham and sausage. How ironic that this Mecca of trayfe is housed in what looks like a former synagogue! Some Jews in a Westchester cemetery are rolling around in their graves. But the story gets weirder. The building, if the Hebrew lines engraved above the doorway are to be believed, wasn't really a synagogue. It was more like a morgue.
Be gentle with us today, we're mostly all hung over after last night's totally misguided going-away party for our old boss, Lockhart Steele, down on Clinton Street. By the way, you should know that they give a lot of tickets if you drink alcohol on the street. (Yes, shocking. There are laws on the Lower East Side. And you thought it was like Deadwood down there!) But the tickets are only $25 bucks if you show up at the 7th Precinct with your paperwork. Feh.
When we last wrote about Vice's Virtual Lower East Side, we were merely IRL observers. Since then we've gone in, and developed our own avatar named Wayne. Wayne is a youngish graphic designer. He prefers camo hoodies and wears a scruffy beard. His skin tone is Hickory Twilight. Wayne will be sending us periodic updates from the virtual streets of the Lower East Side. Today, he hung out in front of the Hat, trying vainly to purchase a frozen margarita—and met a girl!