Archive for the ‘LES’ category

Tribeca Film Festival…In The East Village

May 1, 2008

On Saturday, I did some wandering around the East Village area and, while on my way toward Union Square, ran into the Tribeca Film Festival.  (Simple NYC geography lesson:  Tribeca lies about 20 blocks south of Union Square which is a long, long ways in NYC.)

Well, it is part of the Festival, but you have to remember that it has grown tremendously and they apparently just scoop up every theater they can find to do some of their screenings. I was there around 1:30 or so and a line or six were starting to form up.

To be honest, I didn’t know any of the shows they were planning to screen. At 2:30, they were showing “I Am Because We Are”. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s great. But Rene Decartes would probably find some way to improve the logic.

At 3:30, they were showing “Charley”. There were actually two lines for that show (lines “2” above and “C” below), but maybe not that showing. I presume one line was for voters/writers/critics/filmmakers and the other line was for the ordinary folks. Actually, there were also two lines for “I Am Because We Are”, but line “B” was empty. (A closer look at the pictures has the bigger line for “Ticket Holders and Badge Holders” and the other line for “Rush Tickets”. That’s about what I was expecting.)

It’s interesting to see such events and have the opportunity to go just because I’m walking by. I guess I should be a bit abashed for talking about it without trying it out. But I don’t think I’ve gone to a movie for a year and going to one in the hopes of seeing a great film seems like a poor reason to break that streak.


Tompkins Square Park Protest

April 29, 2008

I was recently down in the Alphabet City area and wandered through Tompkins Square Park.  While there, I saw a protest in progress at the southern part of the park.

The protest seemed centered around a bunch of mailing boxes with slogans.

Forgive me, but I couldn’t figure it out.

Some of the slogans were about Washington Square Park (undergoing renovations and no longer the center of protest activity).  Others were about “stop strangulation in higher education” and “power to the sheeple”.

 I do know that there was another sort of “park protest” going on in Union Square (I’ll post on that separately), so there is a point to the protest.  If I had to guess, the authorities (yeah, those guys) are starting to crack down on the protestors in Union Square just like they did in Washington Square Park.  That’s sad, if only because there are a lot of New Yorkers who really, really, really need a place to do their rants.


Pearl Theatre Company and the LES Handprints of Fame

March 29, 2008

St. Mark’s Place (aka, 8th Street between 3rd Avenue and Avenue A) has some of the most interesting places in the Lower East Side.  I really enjoy it down there.

Recently, I was walking past a place I’ve seen a number of times, Pearl Theatre, and looked down and saw that they’ve got a sort of Mann’s Chinese Theater handprints and footprints thing going on.


Below are Dom DeLuise and Joan Crawford.  Now, that’s a strange twosome.


Next are Hildegard(?) and Myrna Loy.


Next are Gloria Swanson and Lillian Roth.


The next hold the prints for Ruby Keeler and Joan Blondell.


Next, Kitty Carlisle Hart (who recently died and was a NYC theater/opera/philanthropic legend).


Next Allan Jones (an actor and the father of singer Jack Jones).


I just can’t read the next one.


There are two names on the next, but the only one I can read, sort of, is “Wimi Shawn” or “Shaw” or “Shaun”.  It almost certainly is not “William Shawn” as he was the famed editor of the New Yorker and it is hard to believe he’d put his handprints alongside people he may have covered.  It could be “Wallace Shawn” (son of William Shawn) as he has some association with the Pearl Theatre, but it sure looks like there’s an “i” or two in the name.


Of course, it is likely there’s only one name (the Shaw/Shawn/Shaun one) and a mysterious message.  Well, what’s life without some mystery?  (EDITED TO ADD:  thanks to reader “Brian”, it appears to be Winifred “Wini” Shaw.)

Under any circumstances, they haven’t taken great care with these names and prints. Too bad.


Dumpling Man. Food Fit for Famous Ankles

March 20, 2008

In the Lower East Side, just down St. Marks Place, sitting on the south side of the street; is a little slice of perfection:  Dumpling Man!


If you read reviews of Dumpling Man, you’ll note they claim they make the dumplings right in front of you.  True, but not the truth.  They make scores, even hundreds, of dumplings in front of you; but when I was there they tossed my pre-made dumplings into the cooker while they were rolling and setting up the dough flats in preparation of making more hundreds of dumplings.

And mighty fine dumplings they are.  Mighty fine dumplings.

My advice (take it for what it’s worth); run to Dumpling Man and grab a mess o’ them.  But just use the soy sause and the chili sause that’s out for all to use.  I didn’t have much use for their extra charged “super hot” sause.  It wasn’t anywhere as good as the chili and soy combo I combined and scarfed down at the counter.


I wimped out inside.  I asked if I could take a picture of the place and the woman making the dumplings said she didn’t want her picture taken.  I shoulda anyway.  She makes a fine dumpling and should be proud of it.


La Plaza Cultural in Alphabet City

March 10, 2008

I was recently back in Alphabet City in the Lower East Side (AKA, the East Village), and ran into another of the small parks that have sprung up in the area.  These are associated with NYC’s Green Thumb program.  But just being a park ain’t enough to make me take a picture of it; instead, I need something a hair different in some way.


And I think having strange and bizarre stuff on the top of the fence does qualify.

It’s La Plaza Cultural, located on East 9th Street and Avenue C.  Their website doesn’t seem to say a word about the fence, so maybe they don’t think it’s worthy of comment.

I think it is.


I mean, just look at what’s there.




The interior of La Plaza is bigger than most, but mostly unremarkable.


Well, it is winter, but that’s still awfully sparse.


McSorley’s Old Ale House

March 8, 2008

My recent jaunt in the Village was with the mind to find a legendary place.  Okay, it wasn’t all that legendary to me.  Some co-workers had mentioned it as the place to go for the St. Patricks Day Paraders and I hadn’t heard of it (at least to my recollection).

It’s McSorley’s Old Ale House, a bar located on East 7th Street near 3rd Avenue.  It has the slogan “We were here before you were born”.  True enough, it was founded in 1854.


It strives to maintain its history, including sawdust covered floors and bragging rights that its patrons range from Abe Lincoln to John Lennon.

As it is strictly a bar and I am not a lover of beer, I didn’t bother going in.  It looks interesting for others, though.


St. Mark’s Place

March 1, 2008

In other parts of the City, 8th Street is simply…8th Street.  But when you get to the Lower East Side it becomes St. Mark’s Place, named after the Episcopal Church located on 2nd Avenue (but actually up at 10th Street or so).  I’ve wandered St. Mark’s Place a few times, but nothing of any consequence…until I went to Alphabet City.  When I did that, I discovered that the street is about as funky and retro a place as you’ll find in NYC.  Actually, when I realized that the street is really only three blocks long, I kind of shook my head in shame knowing that I had only previously been on St. Mark’s between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue.

Offhand, the street doesn’t look particularly special in any way.


But the crowd is very youthful and the stores are very…interesting.  Below is the St. Mark’s Theater sign.  I don’t think they spent a fortune on it.


Others show a more artistic and funky flair.


I wonder if there’s any particular reason that two of the most visually interesting places are both located below street level?  One of the great mysteries…

I did like this little vegetarian restaurant (at least visually as I didn’t try it).  It seems to be a bit small to be called “Whole Earth Vegetarian Kitchen.”  And it’s second name?  “Whole Earth Bakery and Kitchen”.  Having two relatively long names for the little place, plus the great slogan of “Simple food for complex times” is a hoot.