Last Petite Abeille, in Peter Cooper Village, has closed

June18 petite abeille

The Petite Abeille in Peter Cooper Village opened in 2004.

By Sabina Mollot

Belgian restaurant Petite Abeille closed the last of its locations on Sunday night, which operated in Peter Cooper Village since 2004.

The owners announced the closure on the restaurant’s Facebook page on Friday, blaming rising operational costs. However, in recent years, Yves Jadot, who owned the restaurant with his brothers David and Christophe, said it was hard to operate a restaurant anywhere in the city unless it’s very cheap or very expensive. Last year, the original Petite Abeille, on West 17th Street in Chelsea, closed. In 2015, the Tribeca location closed with Jadot saying at the time there was too much competition from food trucks for the local lunch crowd. At one time there were four locations of Petite Abeille in Manhattan, the first one opening in 1995.

On Facebook, the owners said, “New York has undergone many changes in the 22 years we’ve been in business and unfortunately the rising cost of operating a neighborhood restaurant is one of them. As a small local business, we are simply not able to carry the hefty costs any longer in order for our business to be financially viable.”

Continue reading

Advertisements

Kips Bay tailor, 80, charged with groping woman customer

Tamagoglu’s shop in Kips Bay (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

An 80-year-old tailor in Kips Bay who was violently robbed in his East 27th Street shop last year has been arrested for allegedly groping a customer at his business last week.

The victim told police that while owner Apel Tamagoglu was hemming her pants inside Apel’s New Day Tailor Shop at 203 East 27th Street on Wednesday, October 3 at 2:20 p.m., he allegedly grabbed her buttocks twice and put his hand over her genital area.

As Town & Village reported last year, Tamagoglu was stabbed during a robbery in his Kips Bay shop in January, resulting in a fractured skull, a punctured lung and other injuries. Video footage of the incident showed Tamagoglu attempting to chase the robber out with a chair but he ultimately gave the suspect $80 in cash after being stabbed multiple times. John Franklyn, 53, was arrested shortly after the incident and charged with attempted murder for allegedly stabbing Tamagoglu. Franklyn was reportedly a resident of the 30th Street Men’s Shelter at the time of the incident.

Continue reading

SBJSA will finally get Council hearing

Sept27 closed Loop

Loop restaurant on Third Avenue in Gramercy closed over the summer. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The Small Business Jobs Survival Act, which has existed in some for over 30 years, will finally be getting the hearing its advocates have been pushing for.

According to the Small Business Congress, possibly the bill’s most vocal supporter, the City Council’s Small Business Committee will be holding a hearing on October 22 at 1 p.m.

Meanwhile, the SBC and others who’ve been pushing for the bill’s passage, as well as its opponents in the real estate industry, have expressed some pessimism over how the bill will be debated. In the case of the former, it’s over a belief that the bill is just going to get watered down, and in the case of the latter, over the argument that the bill is illegal.

Continue reading

Murray’s on First Ave. closes

feb14-local-businesses-murrays-falafel

Former Murray’s owner Murray Allon at the restaurant (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, August 27, Murray’s Falafel & Grill on First Avenue, the only kosher restaurant serving meat in the Stuyvesant Town and Stuyvesant Square neighborhoods, was hit with an eviction notice from the city marshal’s office.

An employee for the marshal confirmed the notice and said such evictions are usually due to nonpayment of rent, though she didn’t have specific information in this case.

However, a Stuyvesant Town resident who was a customer said she heard from the previous owner, Murray Allon, that the restaurant had recently been sold to a family member who’d gotten behind on rent in the past few months.

Continue reading

Editorial: Save mom and pop from scam suits

Just in case anyone was thinking that things are just too easy these days for proprietors of small businesses in this city, here is yet more proof that their problems are a lot bigger than Amazon and changing consumer preferences.

Many mom-and-pop shops, who already face an uphill battle thanks to the uncertainty of lease renewals, endless fees and fines from the city and rising rents, generally cannot afford to get tangled up in lengthy litigation battles. So it wasn’t surprising to learn that at least a couple of local businesses blinked when threatened by a potential lawsuit from a serial plaintiff charging discrimination against the disabled.

Access for wheelchair users and other people with mobility challenges is very much a real issue; one that is thankfully finally getting some attention thanks to a recent lawsuit that is trying to stop the L train shutdown.

That litigation has already successfully drawn attention to the willful ignoring of the needs of the disabled to get around the city on mass transit like anyone else. However, that isn’t what was filed by plaintiff Arik Matatov, a wheelchair-using man and his attorney, against dozens of small businesses in Manhattan, while, the New York Post revealed last week, he can actually walk.

Continue reading

Gramercy shop sued by wheelchair plaintiff closes

Aug2 Asia Market

Asia Market on Third Avenue (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last week, a disabled resident of Queens who was suing around 50 business over lack of access to him in his wheelchair was revealed to be able to walk in an article by the New York Post. The paper then went on to report that all the lawsuits were being dropped by the man’s attorney, Jeffrey Neiman, who claimed he had no idea that his client’s claims of being unable to walk weren’t legit.

Meanwhile, one of the businesses targeted by the plaintiff, Arik Matatov, was Asia Market, an Asian grocery store in Gramercy that closed on Tuesday. The store has been open for about a year on Third Avenue between East 18th and 19th Streets.

Reached by phone on Monday, a woman who introduced herself as one of the owners, said the lawsuit, despite having been reportedly dropped, was a factor in the decision to close.

Naomi Kwong said, “It is one of the reasons,” saying that she was first contacted by an attorney earlier this year with a Fed Exed complaint of inaccessibility. Thinking it seemed fishy, she then looked up Neiman and his client online and found information on what appeared to be a quickly drafted website that was created in January.

Continue reading

Target’s East Village store drew controversy on its opening weekend

The new Target on East 14th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Popular chain store Target caused controversy at the opening of the new East Village store at the end of last month because of their homage to former dive bar and music club CBGB and ultimately apologized for the marketing stunt, the New York Times reported at the end of last week.

The new store opened on East 14th Street between Avenues A and B with grand opening festivities on the weekend of July 21 with a vinyl facade depicting tenements and old storefronts, including CBGB, with “TRGT” in the bar’s classic font on the temporary overhang.

Jeremiah Moss, whose blog Vanishing New York and book of the same name document gentrification in the city, called the display a “deplorable commodification of local neighborhood culture” and expressed disgust over the fake storefronts.

“The façade is draped in vinyl sheets printed with images of tenements, the same sort of buildings that get demolished to make room for such developments,” Moss wrote. “Here they sit, hollow movie-set shells, below the shiny windows of the high-end rentals. They are the dead risen from the grave, zombies enlisted to work for the corporation.”

Continue reading

Outpouring of support for separated immigrant families shown in drive

Ibiza Kidz owner Carole Husiak with Council Member Keith Powers by some of the donated items (Photo courtesy of Keith Powers)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Motivated by recent news stories of children getting separated from their parents at the country’s southern border, local moms have collected more than a hundred donations in the last month for the children who have been displaced in New York.

Stuyvesant Town residents Rebekah Rosler and Emily Anderson, who started a company called MomMeetUps earlier this year for expectant and new mothers, reached out to their network when the story broke at the end of June and directed residents to drop off items at local shop Ibiza Kidz, where owner Carole Husiak, herself a Stuy Town resident, has also been soliciting donations from charitable people in the neighborhood through a Stuyvesant Town moms Facebook group.

“It was a community effort and because I’m a central neighborhood shop, it was a good place to bring things,” Husiak said. “That’s how it evolved. Everyone kind of jumped on it because we’re incensed by all this.”

Husiak has previously worked with civic-minded neighborhood residents, helping a local non-profit organization collect items for Syrian refugees last April. Husiak told Town & Village at the time that the organization was having trouble finding space for the donations so she volunteered her store as a drop-off site.

Continue reading

Pushcart to become Citizens of Gramercy

Rogers (Photo courtesy of Carlina Rivera)

By Sabina Mollot

This week, a reader alerted us to the fact that Pushcart coffee at the corner of 21st Street and Second Avenue, had signage indicating it would be closing on June 14. She then spoke with an employee who said the place was sold and would reopen as a brunch spot.

After we reached out to one of the owners, Jamie Rogers, he responded that this was partly accurate.

“We are converting the shop into a brunch cafe under the new name Citizens of Gramercy, and I will remain an owner,” he said via email.

Rogers added that he and his partners did the same conversion to a Pushcart in Chelsea (Citizens of Chelsea).

Continue reading

Eisenberg’s sold, but new owner plans to keep things as they are

Eisenberg’s, pictured on a recent morning, has been around for nearly 90 years in Flatiron. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Eisenberg’s sandwich shop, which has been a staple of The Flatiron neighborhood for nearly 90 years, is poised to remain a local favorite for many years to come.

That’s because it was sold last week, with the condition that the new owner keep the place, with its old New York coffee shop vibe, the same, which he has agreed to do.

Its former owner for the past 12 years is Josh Konecky, a longtime resident of Stuyvesant Town until six years ago.

Reached on the phone, he explained the decision to sell, which he first made public on Facebook.

Continue reading

SBJSA advocates rally for hearing

Council Member Carlina Rivera with with the bill’s supporters and its prime sponsor Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez at her left (Photo courtesy of Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez)

By Sabina Mollot

Small business activists are actively pushing for a hearing of the Small Business Jobs and Survival Act, which was reintroduced in the City Council in March under a new prime sponsor, Ydanis Rodriguez.

Representatives from various pro-SBJSA groups attended a hearing on the steps of City Hall last Wednesday, along with Rodriguez and fellow Council Member Carlina Rivera. Additionally, the coalition has continued to reach out to small businesses across the five boroughs as well as those who enjoy patronizing them, encouraging email to their local member of Council.

Harry Bubbins, East Village and special projects director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said hundreds of email forms to council members were sent through the GVSHP’s website. Additionally, since the bill was reintroduced, 12 council members have signed on as sponsors.

“They are responding to their local constituents as well as the needs of the city, the obvious crisis of retail spaces in the city,” Bubbins said.

Continue reading

Stuy Town flea market will return with designated space for artists on April 21

At this year’s flea market, sellers will only be located inside playgrounds. (Pictured) Vendors at Stuy Town’s Playground 11 at the 2017 event

By Sabina Mollot

On Friday, Stuyvesant Town management announced that the flea market, which returned last year after a hiatus of over a decade, will take place this year on Saturday, April 21.

In an email to residents, a few changes to the way the market is set up were mentioned. For one thing, instead of circling the Oval and sprawling out into the loop roads, with playgrounds included, this year, the market will only take place inside three playgrounds.

Asked about this, General Manager Rick Hayduk said this isn’t to limit the number of participants. (Last year, there were over 500.) Rather, management is confident the same if not more vendors will be able to fit this way.

The new layout may also improve visibility for vendors who may have otherwise been stationed on the outskirts of the event. (A few vendors in the playgrounds and on the loops furthest from the Oval told Town & Village last year they suspected they were getting less foot traffic.)

Continue reading

City offering free legal help to mom-and-pops signing leases

Huascar Aquino, a winner of “Cupcake Wars,” in front of his Hell’s Kitchen bakery with Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The city is throwing a legal lifeline to mom-and-pops by offering free legal help to some small businesses to help them negotiate leases.

On Tuesday, Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop, along with Council Member Robert Cornegy, announced the program, which will receive $2.4 million in funding over the next two years.

The program is expected to help 400 small business owners a year who couldn’t otherwise afford attorneys, but Bishop said it can grow if the demand for free legal help is higher than expected. Attorneys, who belong to organizations like the Urban Justice Center and Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation, will be assigned to individual businesses to help them resolve disputes before they end up in court. However, the attorneys, who are expected to provide an average of 40 hours of services per client, will not represent businesses in disputes that do end up in court.

Continue reading

Barfly owners: Kit Harington is welcome back here any time

Kit Harington (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The owners of Barfly want Game of Thrones fans to know that despite a viral video of actor Kit Harington supposedly acting “disorderly” in the Gramercy bar last Friday night, Jon Snow was actually a perfect, if intoxicated, gentleman.

Video posted on TMZ on Saturday showed Harington getting into an argument over a game of pool and being escorted from the bar shortly after, but owners Aldo Parisi and Krystyn Shari said there was actually more to the story. When reached for comment, a bartender told T&V that Parisi and Shari had clarified the incident in a statement to the press on Tuesday, first reported by Entertainment Tonight.

The owners explained that Harington was already intoxicated and had been over-served elsewhere when he went into Barfly on Friday night and was only there for about half an hour, during which he bought a drink for himself and his friend, as well as a round of drinks for all the other customers in the bar.

Continue reading

City admits it has no way to track storefront vacancies

Council Member Dan Garodnick chairs the hearing on retail vacancy. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

City agencies currently have no way of measuring the rate of storefront vacancies in the city, representatives have admitted.

The representatives, who were from the Department of Small Business Services, discussed the matter at a City Council hearing earlier this month led by Council Member Dan Garodnick, chair of the Economic Development Committee. At the hearing, Garodnick had been pressing the agency on its apparent lack of strategies to come up with solutions to address retail blight.

“This hearing is about the economic impact of vacant storefronts and what I heard in the testimony was mostly a variety of things SBS has done to help businesses over time, but I didn’t really hear any urgency about the problem,” Garodnick said.

Continue reading