Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vacant Borders space in Kips Bay next for official word (soon!) on who's moving in?

So, now that we know Fairway Market is opening in Kips Bay Plaza on Second Avenue at the 30th Street corner, when is official word coming about the former Borders Books 21,300-square-foot space at the northern end of the mall?   Here's a photo we took yesterday afternoon:
576 Second Avenue at 32nd Street in Kips Bay Plaza.
We couldn't get close enough to look inside, but we're told by folks who have managed to peek that the space has been divided for the new tenants, still said to be, as we reported first, Staples and TD Bank. Is that a separate entrance behind the plywood on the left?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fairway to open in Kips Bay Plaza & gutting under way in (former) Office Depot space

It's finally official, after months of rumors and speculation, Fairway Market is opening in Kips Bay Plaza this fall on Second Avenue at 30th Street and will occupy combined former Office Depot & Crunch Gym space, as we reported first in February -- although Whole Foods was the leading contender back then.  Get more on Fairway's announcement in DNAinfo.

We were in the Kips Bay neighborhood this afternoon and noticed that a work permit (for dismantling) had been posted at the former Office Depot site. Here's the photo we snapped through the window:
Getting 542 Second Avenue ready for Fairway Market.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Picture perfect day to shop, sample & snap at Stuyvesant Town Greenmarket

Out and about with her camera in picture perfect weather, here are some sights snapped Sunday morning by Callie B. at the weekly Oval Greenmarket for Peter Cooper Village-Stuyvesant Town residents and guests (aka friends & family):
Greenmarket is visible through spray of Oval fountain.
Also a perfect day to catch some rays.
Vegetables galore at the Migliorelli farm stand.
Tasty cheese & veggie bites on Ruis Finnish rye bread.
5th Taste of Greenmarket info at

Saturday, June 23, 2012

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2012 is set for July 16 to August 10

Celebrating 20 years of dining deals, NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2012 will run 20 days plus some from  some July 16 through August 10. Click HERE for more info.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Duane Reade nixes store in Tempo condo on East 23rd St.-- space & lease on market

UPDATE 12/2: Duane Reade to open 

UPDATE: Work's finally under way at space, and we're hearing it still may be DR. Stay tuned.

Looks like Duane Reade may not be coming to the corner of Second Avenue after all in the Tempo condominium building at 300 East 23rd Street, just a few doors from a popular CVS?

We reported last August that a Duane Reade or (parent company) Walgreens was opening in the luxury building's 11,289-square-foot retail space. We continued to check periodically with sources and to look for signs of construction and/or "Coming Soon" announcement on the perpetually papered-over front door. Nothing!
Storefront on 2nd Avenue side of Tempo at 300 E. 23rd St.
A recent check online discovered an SRS Real Estate sales brochure and listing for a retail condominium at the address, with prominent logos and comments noting a long-term Duane Reade lease and Walgreens Co. guarantee. And we found a similar listing on LoopNet.

So, what does this mean for the area? If anyone's listening, a friend desperately wants a Sephora on the corner. But what about local pharmaceutical needs?

With several independent pharmacies also in the mix, we will just have to make do with the Walgreens on 23rd Street & Park Avenue South, Duane Reade on 23rd Street at both Lexington and Third avenues, Walgreens in Stuyvesant Town on First Avenue & 17th Street and the Duane Reade expected to open between 14th & 15th streets on First Avenue, right next door to CVS.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sale of Stuy Town-PCV complex to tenants & Brookfield 'most likely' & also best deal

As reported by Crain's today, a JP Morgan study says selling the Peter Cooper Village-Stuyvesant Town complex to the partnership of tenants & Brookfield Asset Management is the "most likely outcome" and would give debt holders the best chance of recouping their $3 billion. Analysts estimated the value of a partial condo conversion at $4.4 billion.  J-51 litigation remains an issue.

Also read more in Real Estate Weekly and The Real Deal.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wigging out for veggie wraps on E. 14th St.

Neighborhood institution The Royal Wigs at 229 East 14th Street, between Second & Third avenues, is closed and a rumored vegetarian restaurant is moving in, reports EV Grieve.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Last call for 1st Avenue Wines & Spirits after decades in neighborhood?

1st Avenue Wines & Spirits closed recently after, by local accounts, more than 40 years at 383 First Avenue between 22nd & 23rd streets, across from Peter Cooper Village.

There's no "For Lease" sign or message to customers posted on the security gate and the phone rings unanswered, but people we talked to had definite opinions about why the store closed. Most pointed to newly arrived competition, specifically the 3,000-square-foot Morton Williams Wine & Spirits that opened in April  on 23rd Street between First & Second avenues. In competition to come, as we first reported, Tre Figli got a license in February for a sizable liquor store on First Avenue between 19th & 20th streets in the Stuyvesant Town mall. 
Neighborhood fixture for four decades closed at 383 First Avenue.
"It seems like the First Avenue wine shop has been across the street forever," said a long-time Peter Cooper Village resident, "but with different owners over the past few years. From the way it looked inside lately, I'm not surprised it closed, but you hate to see anybody go out of business."  A local merchant summed up the consensus of other comments, "Why are we losing so many shops and restaurants in our neighborhood? So another bank or pharmacy can open?"

Gone for good or just for now?
We stopped in 1st Avenue Wines & Spirits  a few months ago and also picked up a soon-to-be-shuttered vibe, but when we asked, the answer was a resounding "no."  Last month, the store looked tidier inside and better stocked, so we wondered if it was under new management, and the answer was "not yet" -- but without elaboration. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

DOT's repaving local streets this week

As reported in Town&VillageBlog, DOT roadway resurfacing takes place in our area this week on several streets, including 23rd from Lexington Avenue to Avenue C, June 19-22;  FDR Service Road between 25th and 23rd, June 21; and 25th between the FDR Service Road and Asser Levy Place, June 21.

According to DOT's schedule, most of the work will be done at night to minimize traffic disruptions. Get more info HERE.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Stuyvesant Town 'overnights' still booming

As reported by Curbed this week, "Neighbors Hate Stuy-TowBnB!" -- the still-booming Internet ads for  short-term rentals in the complex. The story cites complaints on the Tenants Association's Facebook page.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lotus Skin Care Boutique opens in Gramercy at 310 E. 23rd St. near 2nd Ave.

Yes, there is a new shop at 310 East 23rd Street in The Foundry building between First & Second avenues. It's the small (350 square feet) but chic Lotus Skin Care Boutique -- featuring a dazzling display of  beauty creams and serums, many formulated with minerals from the Dead Sea. And there's even a product line with gold elements.
Recently opened Lotus Skin Care Boutique.
"Some people will know us from the Holiday Market in Union Square, but this is our first store," said charming owner Sandra Mendez. "We like this area, and everyone has been so nice." She said the boutique carries a full range of "organic and natural" products for the face, body and hair-- for women and men.  

For more, visit the shop on Facebook  or stop by for a free consultation.

Welcome & good luck!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Signage up for 'forgotten' Whole Foods opening at 250 East 57th Street

Trying to keep up for months with  rumors about Whole Foods coming to Kips Bay Plaza (although now Fairway tops the list) as well recent  news of plans (maybe) for a Whole Foods in Harlem, we totally forgot about the totally true, absolute fact that a Whole Foods really is opening soon at 250 E. 57th Street between Second & Third avenues.

Our memory was nudged yesterday on the 57th Street crosstown bus when we saw the big green "Whole Foods Market" signage, so we got off the bus for a closer look.
The ground floor, 38,000 square-foot supermarket stretches across most of the block.  Peering inside, it looks like there's still  a whole lot of work to be done but -- along with info about employment opportunities and an outreach to local farmers -- as of today, the 57th Street store's website says, "Coming August 2012."

The  mixed-used development  will also include other retail, two schools and a 59-story apartment building.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Baked by Melissa cupcakes coming to former burger joint in Gramercy/Flatiron

Colorful cupcake art decorates the construction plywood announcing the upcoming arrival of Baked by Melissa this summer at 111 East 23rd Street near Park Avenue South.  Going from savory to sweet, the space had been occupied by Fresh & Fast burgers, which closed in April.

New shop will be 8th NYC location.
Baked by Melissa specializes in cute mini cupcakes about the size of a delicately stuffed and frosted quarter.  Ten flavors (plus a new one each month)  range from Cinnamon to Smores to the shop's signature  Tie-Dye, priced at $1 a pop. But you pay less the more you buy: For example, get six for $5.50, a dozen for $10, and 100 or more for 70 cents each. Still, is a "quarter" worth a dollar?  For my taste test, I went to the Baked by Melissa at 7 E. 14th Street near Broadway and Union Square.

I tried three cupcakes (for $3): Red Velvet, the most popular; Wedding Cake, the flavor of the month through June, and Peanut Butter Cup (my home freezer has more Reese's PBCs than ice cubes).

Melissa's bite-sized beauties were melt-in-my-mouth delicious -- but gone in 60 seconds!    <Story & photos by Callie B.>

Sunday, June 3, 2012

2nd Avenue Restaurant Week starts June 4

NYC's summer restaurant week season gets an early start this year, kicking off June 4-8 along the Second Avenue subway construction corridor between 68th to 96th streets. Organizers hope to bring attention and customers to businesses impacted by the ongoing construction.  

You can show your support while enjoying dining deals that range from 20 percent off menu items to  $20.16 for dinner, depending on the restaurant. BTW, 2016 is the projected completion date for phase one of the subway project.  For a list of restaurant week participants, click Shop 2nd Avenue.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Meatball Factory reopens with new menu

Walking across East 14th Street late morning today, I was surprised to see doors flung open and tables being set at the recently closed  Meatball Factory on the corner of Second Avenue. Signage was  unchanged, so the first thing I wanted to know was the name of the new restaurant.

Here's the story: After the brief  Hole Foods  pop-up deal ended,  the space reopened about two weeks ago as, well,  what it used to be -- The Meatball Factory, but with some management changes, decor color enhancements and, most notably, a new, less-meatball-centric menu. You can still get traditional meatballs and pizza, but how about fajitas and quesadillas or maybe selections from the seafood raw bar?  Beverages also reflect the new menu, with sake and sangria added.
The Meatball Factory at 231 Second Avenue & 14th Street.
The Meatball Factory serves dinner daily and, for now, lunch on Thursday, Friday & Saturday, according to Chris, the manager.  He said  since reopening, business has been "steady and increasing." Good Luck! this time around.  < Story & photo by Callie B.>