This colorful and fun mural by Peelander-Yellow of Peelander-Z, the Japanese Action Comic Punk Band based in NYC is located on East 2nd Street, between 2nd Avenue and Bowery. It’s evidently been up since February, but the heinous weather has kept me from doing much exploring, so I just spotted it for the first time this past weekend, when the temps soared into the high 60s! Woo! This looks like some kind of Space Pig, to me. Space Pig!
This very colorful mural by renowned street artist turned fine artist Kenny Scharf adorns one side of a building located near the corner of Lafayette and Prince Street in SOHO. The 50-foot high abstract painting is part of the Taking Back the Streets campaign from WAT-AAH bottled water to promote the popularity of drinking water among children and teens. Find out more about the campaign at This Link.
It must have been a while since I walked west on 7th Street towards Avenue A, because today I noticed for the first time that the Joe Strummer Memorial Mural has been restored to the East 7th Street facade of the exterior of Niagara Bar, located at corner of Avenue A and 7th Street. The original mural, created by street artists Dr. REVOLT and Zephyr after Strummer’s death in 2002, was removed in 2013 to facilitate structural repairs to the building. The piece has now been recreated (a little Googling reveals it reappeared in September 2013) by Dr. REVOLT in a similar but still recognizably different style.
You can see what the original mural looked like at This Link.
Oh MLK Day, I took myself out to the “Weekend Brunch” at 7A — my favorite local Brunch spot and a restaurant I’ve frequented for the twenty years that I’ve lived in this neigborhood. The word is out now that 7A — cleverly named for its location on the corner of Seventh Street and Avenue A — will shut its doors for good at the end of January. My waitress told me that the owner is moving to California and just wants to sell the property off and be done with it. And that’s just shame, because 7A was the best.
When I first moved to the East Village and didn’t know many people, I hung out a lot by myself. One of my favorite things to do in those years was to visit 7A on the weekends for their delicious brunch, sit at a table by one of the windows and just watch people walk by. You could not buy better entertainment than that. But 7A has always been about so much more that good Freak Watching. The prices were always very reasonable, the food excellent (their guacamole-laden Mexican Burgers featured better ground beef than you find in most steak houses) and plentiful (I never left hungry) and the service friendly and efficient. 7A was a colorful local hangout where you could just be yourself.
7A was, out of necessity, renovated and redesigned a couple of times over the past two decades, but it never lost its character.
This is the massive meal I had for Brunch on my recent, and perhaps final, visit. A California Omelet stuffed with refried beans, cheese and tomatoes and topped with their delicious homemade guacamole, accompanied by Green Salad, Crispy Home-fried Potatoes and Seven Grain Toast. Brunch also included Coffee or Tea and a Cocktail (In this photo, I am about to enjoy a Screwdriver, which, as you can see, is tall enough to get you buzzed). This feast costs only $14.95, which means that with tax and generous tip you get more food than you can barely stuff in your face for about $20. What a bargain!
With the way things come and go in NYC and the rate at which landmarks and beloved establishments are being swept aside to be replaced by another fucking Starbucks, sentimentality is, perhaps not surprisingly, in short supply around here. Because you just can’t afford to get too attached to anything anymore. And while the loss of 7A is hardly as emotionally and culturally devastating as the closing of The Kiev, I will miss it.
I’m not sure what 7A’s final day of business will be (the 31st is a Thursday) but you might have time to grab one more famous Weekend Brunch if you step on it. Goodbye 7A and thanks for all the memories. I hope your staff finds good new employment!
The Last Brunch
This Blue Gorilla perched atop an archway on Market Street in Venice Beach, California was painted by artist Isabelle Alford-Lago. Apparently, his name is Vincent. Find out more about Isabelle and her work at This Link.
London based artist STIK completed the final touches on his Liberty tribute mural as of Thursday, September 12th. A gift to NYC from Dorian Grey Gallery and STIK, this 60 foot mural was inspired by the history and spirit of Tompkins Square Park and will become a symbol of the artistic legacy of NYC’s East Village. The mural adorns the side of the building at the southwest corner of Avenue A and 9th Street above Doc Holiday’s Bar.
You can tell so much about a city from its Street Art. When I was vacationing in Seattle this past July, I photographed this very colorful undersea life mural in the city’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. With a little bit of Googling, I was able to uncover the below information on the mural at This Link:
“The 100 foot long and 17 foot tall mural Emerge: An ode to Dedication covers the east side of the currently abandoned Metropole building in Pioneer Square, located at the corner of Yesler Way and 2nd Avenue. The building was damaged by a fire in 2007. In 2010, the artist Jeff Jacobson created the mural on plywood covering the side of the building. His goal was to create something beautiful to look at and draw attention to the building. According to [a video interview with] Jacobson, where he describes the mural’s underwater scene, the salmon represent artists rising to and breaking through the surface of the water.”
The Los Angeles-based street artist Thierry Guetta, better known as Mr Brainwash, has lost a copyright case involving a 1977 photograph of the punk rock musician Sid Vicious shot by the British photographer Dennis Morris. Guetta had claimed that the seven works he created using Morris’s black and white photograph, including one mural and one collage made of broken vinyl records, were sufficiently altered to be protected by the fair use defence, which allows for the use of copyrighted material for commentary, criticism and parody.
The federal judge rejected Guetta’s claim, saying that “most of [the] defendant’s works add certain new elements, but the overall effect of each is not transformative.” The judge also opposed the argument that “appropriation art per se” should be protected by fair use. As we went to press, the terms of the settlement, including unspecified damages, were being determined.
In 2011 Guetta lost a copyright case to Glen Friedman over his use of Friedman’s photograph of the rap group Run DMC, while last year the estate of the photographer Jim Marshall sued Guetta and Google for the unauthorised use of Marshall’s photographs of musicians. This case has not yet been decided and is due to go to trial in July.
There is a saying that “God is in the details.” Manhattanites can certainly find tasty Sunday brunch specials in any neighborhood on the island, but if you’re looking for delicious food that’s enhanced by subtle details such as fresh flowers on the table, a cup of coffee that includes your own individual French press, or a chill music mix of flamenco and Bossa Nova to soundtrack your meal, then Pera, on Thompson Street in Soho, is a destination to add to your list.
The brunch menu at Pera offers a mix of Mediterranean dishes and traditional brunch plates. There’s also a prix-fixe that includes a brunch cocktail or fresh juice of your choice, a main plate and coffee or tea for $21. But it’s the little touches that add a civilized feel here in the urban jungle. If it’s a sunny day, opt for a table at one of the spacious, comfy booths at the front of the restaurant in the bar area, which will give you not only a great view of the entire restaurant, but also provides an ideal spot for people watching.
It isn’t really brunch without a cocktail, is it? We selected a refreshing Peach Margarita on the rocks (all brunch cocktails are $7) to enjoy sipping as we perused the eclectic menu.
We started with an appetizer of the Eggplant “Kofte” Croquettes ($9). This house specialty consists of ground eggplant balls lightly breaded and deep-fried to resemble something like a fritter stuffed with baba ganoush. The creamy eggplant center is a nice contrast of textures and tastes with the light, crunchy breading. We were also intrigued by the description of the Spicy Muammara with Chickpea Chips ($9). This dish was described to us as being a Roasted Pepper and Walnut Paste flavored with Marinara, which sounds adventurous. Next time!
My dining companion and decided to order one sweet dish and one savory dish and share them. We had been reading about Pera’s White Chocolate Chip Pancakes for weeks and were extremely keen on ordering them, but were disappointed to learn that we had been looking at an outdated menu! As a consolation, we ordered traditional Buttermilk Pancakes with Strawberry Butter ($14). We are constantly on a quest to find the perfect pancakes at brunch spots in Manhattan, and these certainly rate for being moist and cake-like, while managing to be completely done in the center (you would not believe how hard it is to find a well-done pancake in Manhattan. Even IHOP can’t get it right).
The three fluffy cakes are served with fresh berries and sprinkled with powdered sugar with maple syrup on the side. Unfortunately, the promised Strawberry Butter did not manage to make it onto the plate, and although we suspected something was “missing,” we were not able to figure out what it was until we had left the restaurant. This was very disappointing, because we suspect that the Strawberry Butter would have elevated this dish to a sublime deliciousness.
For our savory choice we selected the Oven-Baked Eggs ($14) served on top of a Green Olive-Studded Parmesan Polenta Cake, with melted Sharp Cheddar and accompanied by a generous amount of tender steamed Kale. There are few healthy foods that are as trending right now as Kale, and this was cooked to perfection, bringing out a sweet taste and eliminating any trace of bitterness. The Baked Eggs dish is easily large enough to share, and we would just offer a reminder that the eggs are served with a runny yolk (think: poached), so if you prefer your eggs well done, be sure to specify that when ordering.
We also added a side of Pera’s House Made Chicken Sausage ($6); a lean and mildly seasoned sausage with a texture that is very similar to traditional Merguez (lamb) sausage. The sausage perfectly complemented both our sweet and savory brunch dishes.
Shortly after 1:00 PM, a house DJ sets up in the bar area to provide her own mix of tunes, which is a nice addition to the atmosphere.
Pera is spacious establishment with a large, intimate dining room at the rear, a separate private room for parties also located adjacent to the bar and a massive outdoor patio. Once the weather warms up, we can imagine that Pera’s outdoor seating area will be packed, especially on the weekends. We left Pera feeling satisfied, relaxed and ready to enjoy a leisurely post-Brunch stroll and a bit of window-shopping in this beautiful neighborhood.