East Village Residents Ponder a Changing Neighborhood After a Homeless Woman's Death

Courtesy Catholic Worker's Maryhouse.
Donna Harris at Christmas, 2014
The memorial service for Donna Harris was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Catholic Worker's Maryhouse in the East Village. But the service itself did not start until after 7:30 as organizers acknowledged the slow-to-arrive crowd. "You have to give them time to come," said Felton Davis, who works at Maryhouse. Indeed, the group soon swelled from five to nearly fifty people, most of whom knew Harris only in passing.

If you live near Tompkins Square Park, chances are you knew her, too. Harris, who had been homeless for at least the last decade, was known for her bright blue nail polish and unabashed commentary to passersby: "She didn't want people's pity," attendee Amanda Daloisio said, laughing. "And she was not meek and mild."

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The Rent Is Too Damn High Guy Continues to Fight Landlord's Eviction Efforts

Screenshot via YouTube
Jimmy McMillan is not homeless.

The Rent Is Too Damn High party founder Jimmy McMillan was scheduled to be evicted in February from his $872-a-month rent-stabilized apartment in the East Village. But the fierce affordable-housing advocate has still managed to stay in his home — at least for now — thanks to the intervention of the city's Adult Protective Services program.

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Beloved East Village Hawks Forced Into Flight

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Photo by Laura Goggin
The hawk's nest
Bird-watchers in the East Village are dismayed over a condo owner's repeated attempts to remove a red-tailed hawk's nest from the building the birds have called home for more than a year.

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Tenants in New York Observer Publisher's Building Say 'Nonstop Construction' Is Meant to Drive Them Out [Updated]

Image via Google Maps
170 and 174 E. 2nd Street, with adjacent psychic
In December 2013, New York Observer publisher and real estate magnate Jared Kushner bought two connected buildings, 170-174 East 2nd Street. (The buildings are laden with some serious New York history: Allen Ginsberg lived at 170 for three years and wrote "Kaddish" there.) In the intervening nine months, landlord-tenant relations have gone swiftly and steadily south. First, Kushner's company distributed eviction notices to many of the current tenants, with an eye toward converting the apartments into higher-end versions of themselves, according to DNAInfo. That resulted in a nasty and, in some cases, ongoing fight in Housing Court. Now the remaining tenants, many of them living in rent-stabilized apartments, say the constant construction in the building is causing broken tiles, eroding floors, collapsing ceilings and weeks in which their mail has gone undelivered. They allege the chaos is deliberate, part of an attempt to force them out to attract newer, fancier tenants, the kind who don't mind paying $2,658 for a one-bedroom. A group of the remaining tenants are planning a protest today in front of their own buildings.

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The Last Kim's Video & Music Location Will Close This Summer

Categories: East Village

Kim's on Record Store Day, 2013.
Legendary East Village emporium Kim's Video & Music on First Avenue will be closing its doors this summer, the store announced Monday on the Kim's Facebook page. "As great as #RSD2014 was (thank you all!), sadly we will be closing our store on 1st Ave. No closing date yet but 30% off ALL VIDEO and MUSIC. (all formats and NRs as well)."

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Street Artist RAE Debuts Show in Vacant East Village Bodega

Araceli Cruz
On Saturday night, Brooklyn street artist RAE presents "Word of Mouth," his first solo show in New York City. Unfortunately, he won't be attending opening night, because when you use the city as your canvas, you never know if the police might be looking for you.More »

Car Crashes Into East Village Shop, Puts 8 in Hospital (UPDATED)

Raillan Brooks
Just before 7 this morning, a car coming down 2nd Avenue crashed into an East Village bodega at East 4th Street. Eight people were injured, three of whom were employees of the store. A man claiming to be the owner of the business declined comment.

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Happy Valentine's Day! Cutest East Village Couple Give Love Advice: "There Is No Love Today"

"I love you, God bless you and see you tomorrow," is how Pilar La Rosa bids adieu to her regular patrons at Pilar Jewelry Repair on East 7th Street. Shopping at her quaint boutique is always a joy, though for the most part we stop by for no apparent reason other than to chat with owners Pilar and her husband Walter. You see, it's not everyday you meet a happily (and chill) married couple (in Manhattan) that also happen to work together.

This adorably cute couple hail from Lima, Peru, and have been coworkers for the past 20 years at this East Village storefront, which is an accomplishment in itself. What is even more astonishing is that they've been married for the past five decades! So on today's very special love day, we asked the one couple who spends every waking moment together how relationships can function and survive in today's complex digital love age.

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East Village Hates Chains, Just Like Astor Place Once Did

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Kate Conger
A new 7-Eleven is under construction in the East Village.

Last week, the New York Times reported that the East Village was emphatically protesting an incoming 7-Eleven. The Slurpee giant is worming its way right to the trendy core of the neighborhood, renovating a storefront on Avenue A and East 11th Street. The neighbors are worried that the snack chain will have a negative impact on local businesses and further gentrify the already-changing area.

It's not the first time a New York neighborhood has tried to block a big chain from moving in -- think way back, if you will, to the Astor Place Kmart kerfuffle of 1996. The Times diligently covered that one too (although they've updated their terminology for anti-capitalist kids in the last decade; what were once "skateboarding teen-agers" are now "black-clad youths"). Back then, one resident fretted, "I hate the thought of stepping over Kmart shoppers on my way to buy bagels on Sunday morning."

Skeptical that one store, even one as gigantic as the 145,000-square-foot Kmart, could have such a distinctive impact on a neighborhood, we decided to pay a visit and find out.

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East Village Gets First Large-Scale Historic Landmark District

Categories: East Village
Map of the Historic District.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted yesterday to designate a collection of over 330 buildings -- within the bounds of the Bowery, Avenue A, East 2nd and East 7th street -- as the first large-scale historic district in neighborhood history.

In a 6 to 1 vote, the commission gave landmark protection to many historic tenement houses, religious structures and theaters within the designated area.

"We're thrilled that the district was designated. This is an enormously important step forward in terms of preserving the East Village, which has been under attack from a lot of very inappropriate out-of-scale development -- high rise dorms, big new hotels and luxury condos," Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, tells the Voice. "So, this will definitely make a big difference in terms of helping preserve what makes the East Village so distinctive."

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