When Winter Storm Gail hit the tri-state area in mid-December, people joked with me that the storm would surely bring with it some Pink Snow — because it shared my name, and everyone knows how much I love anything pink. Well, surprise (or not) — while exploring the neighborhood on the morning after the storm, I actually encountered Pink Snow!
The mysterious pink slush (which is what it had become by this point in the day) was found at the intersection of Avenue B and 9th Street, adjacent to a highly-trafficked bodega. I have no idea where the pink color came from, but I am glad I was lucky enough to document it before it melted and swirled down into the sewer and out to sea!
The first time I saw the name “Ian Knife” it was gouged into the top of a tree stump on Avenue A that had been carefully carved and painted to resemble the head of an Alligator. Impressive.
I’m not sure how long the Alligator Stump has been there, but I swear I only noticed it for the first time this past summer, when I was doing more than my fair share of walking in the neighborhood because everything was closed due to the Covid (#CovidLife). I didn’t realize at the time that Ian Knife was the name of the artist; I just assumed it was a dick move by some inconsiderate ass taking delight in tagging the Alligator’s face by carving his name into it. Because that is what people do.
Say His Name
Some time later, I started seeing the tag Knife spray-painted literally fucking everywhere from the East River Park throughout the East Village. Curious, I looked-up Ian Knife on the Google and I found this pretty cool article about his work as a Tree Stump Artist. I’m glad he is getting his name out there because his work is unique and fun.
Knife’s tree stump carvings, a few of which are described in the above article, are scattered all over the East Village, where he lives. This one of a ‘Man Behind Bars‘ is on First Avenue between St. Mark’s Place and Ninth Street.
If I spot more of Ian’s tree stump carvings I’ll add them to this post! In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled!
Living the Covid Life in its Manhattan epicenter is hardcore. New Yorkers are survivors though, and we still love our city. Queen Andrea wants to make sure we don’t forget how hard NYC rocks. She completed this beautiful mural on Avenue A between 3rd and 4th Streets on May 14th, 2020, which is why it still looks fresh!
Villainess, accord to their Instagram Page, is a “Secondhand designer black clothing store and events destination located in the East Village.” The exact address is 181 Avenue B, and they appear be temporarily shuttered due to the Covid Life. It seems appropriate then, that their glorious Pink Neon Sign glows on, behind bars, so to speak.
Savasana Station Yoga Studio Security Gate Mural (All Photos By Gail)
When the only outdoor activity that’s still permitted is taking a walk, it’s important to give your walks a purpose. As the Covid Life hit us back in mid-March, I started collecting what you might call ‘mundane’ pictures on my iPhone camera roll during my afternoon jaunts; documenting things I see in the East Village in order to share the stories these photos tell about the people who live in my awesome neighborhood. For as long as this shit lasts, I’ll be publishing a thematic weekly series of photo-blog posts featuring snapshots from my East Village Life, so that we all might feel more connected. This week’s theme is Storefronts. Enjoy!
Clash City Tattoo located at 273 E 10th Street, takes its name from the song “Clash City Rocker” which you can find on the 1977 debut album by, you guessed it, The Clash.
This is the Pyramid Club, a nightclub on Avenue A that’s been open since 1979 — wow! Nirvana once played there before they got to be a big deal, and I interviewed a few rockers inside its walls back in my rock critic days. They still host weekly ’80s New Wave dance parties and shit like that. I believe Pyramid Club will survive the Covid crisis.
The handwritten sign posted out front of Psychic Readings By Honeybee, which is also on Avenue A near 14th Street, indicates that, despite their storefront being closed for business, they are still conducting “Readings Over The Phone.” One wonders why their advance psychic knowledge of the upcoming shutdown did not provided ample time to have a more professional sign prepared.
If you’ve passed by Gem Spa, the legendary East Village bodega that is home to the city’s Best Egg Cream (#BestEggCream) at any point since September 11th of this year, you may have done a double, or even a triple take. We know that St. Mark’s Place has become increasingly gentrified, but is Gem Spa now a bank, or wait, what is going on here, exactly?
While it has been rumored that a citibank is slated to take over the corner lot which has been home to Gem Spa since 1957, fear not: this an art installation meant to draw attention to, but also satirize, the phenomenon known as “Disappearing New York.” It isn’t very pretty.
Disclaimer text running across the bottom of the sign above reads:
schitibank has kept the historical appeal to this building to absorb their customer base. This schiti location is not affiliated with any other schiti locations. We don’t mean to gentrify, as schitibank is co-opting this space with Gem Spa to bring you an authentic banking, egg cream and vaping experience. Every customer is on surveillance cameras. Smile, you’re on camera.
The Gem Spa Schitibank installation is the work of Tommy Noonan and Doug Cameron of boutique marketing firm DCX Growth Accelerator, who are known for their ‘Artisanal’ publicity stunts (Google them and be very impressed).
Click Image to Enlarge So You Can Read the Fine Print!
God is definitely in the details here. Promotional posters for the ‘bank’s’ various perks and services include artwork by Robert Mapplethorpe as well as the likenesses of The New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.
Click Image to Enlarge for Detail
More posters and props can be found inside the bodega!
We clearly do not need another bank in the village (or anywhere in NYC, for that matter) but we do need a cool bodega that’s been around forever, and we need our delicious egg creams! Gem Spa is located at the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue and St. Mark’s Place. Drop in and drop some cash next time you’re in the hood. Better yet, make a special trip to visit, so you can see the schitibank installation before they take it down!
Update, May 8th, 2020: Sadly, Gem Spa has fallen victim to the Coronavirus Outbreak. Read the Press Release After The Jump
NYC has really gone all out for Pride Month and it is so great to see everybody getting into the spirit of love and unity. With so much inspiring signage and art work popping up everywhere you look, it’s challenging to document even a small fraction of it, but I was walking home from brunch this past Saturday and passed by this storefront mural by Royce Bannon (AKA @Roycer_700), which currently resides on Avenue A near East 3rd Street. It appears to have gone up in the past few weeks specifically in honor of Pride Month and will like stay up as long as it can.
The Rainbow “Monsters” are Bannon’s signature characters, which he incorporates into much of his public artwork.
Pinky’s Space is an adorable little French / Southern Comfort Food restaurant that always has something fantastically Pink and eye-catching displayed in its front window. When I passed by on a recent Saturday afternoon, I had to cross the street to get a snap of this adorable Pink Gorilla and his little Japanese friend, Domo. I want to eat there.
Pinky’s Space is Located at 70 East 1st Street (Just West of First Avenue), East Village New York City
Here’s A Second Photo Without The To-Go Coffee Cup!
“Let Go of Who You Were, to Become Who You Are.” — Frank Ape
This fun and inspiring mural can be found on the security gate at East Village Collective, a vintage clothing store located at 545 East 12th Street (Between A and B), East Village, NYC. The mural went up in April of 2018.
I spotted this fabulous Jimi Hendrix mural as I was out for a post-snowstorm stroll through my East Village neighborhood one Saturday afternoon. The mural can be found on the security gate for Mikey Likes It, an ice cream shop located at 199 Avenue A. According to their website, Mikey Likes It is the world’s first Pop Culture-inspired premium ice cream brand! I’ll have to make a point to stop by for a cone during their regular business hours!