As the Covid Life moves into its sixth month, my daily walks occasionally lead to the ‘discovery’ of not-so-new street art that’s two blocks from my apartment. Just being serious. Recently, I became acquainted with this monumental mural that takes up the entire side of a five-story apartment building, and features a sea of innumerable faceless Charlie Browns. The centermost Charlie stands atop a pitcher’s mound, gloved up and waiting for . . . what, exactly? 2020 to end? Aren’t we all.
The artist is the very famous Jerkface, whose work is recognizable for using well-known cartoon characters, but with a twist, relying on the 1st Amendment to avoid copyright claims.
The mural was completed in October of 2014 and, despite significant fading of the once vibrant yellow and green paint, it still looks pretty good after six years of exposure to the elements. Charlie and his faceless clones adorn the eastern exposure of Icon Realty-owned 402 E. 12th Street (just east of 1st Avenue) and overlook a street hockey court just adjacent to the Lower East Side Playground.
When the playground is open, you can snap a pic like this through the chainlink fence.
The choice corner lot that formerly housed Tiny Fork Oyster Bar (RIP) is now home to a bright and casual Southern-Inspired bar and dining hall called The Derby. While this lower east side neighborhood has its share of up-and-coming eateries boasting a farm-to-table ethic, as far as location goes, you probably couldn’t ask for a better spot to enjoy an early summer evening dinner. Weather permitting, the front room keeps the doors and windows open to the street while the rear dining area remains flooded with natural light from its east-facing span of tall windows. The vibrant yellow-painted metal chairs, dark wood tables and antique bistro lighting (possibly left over from the space’s previous incarnation) add to The Derby’s welcoming vibe. Of course, the people watching is excellent.
In popular slang, the initials “DL” are commonly understood to stand for “Down Low,” indicating something that should be kept secret or given a low profile. In a neighborhood that’s quickly developing its own Restaurant Row (see Essex Street), The DL is a recently opened restaurant / bar located at the corner of Delancey and Ludlow Streets – the DL moniker deriving from this intersection – serving remarkably delicious food and offering a hip dining alternative completely free of any oppressive hipster attitude. Even if you’re reading about The DL for the first time in this review, once word gets out, we can envision this place being one of the most buzzed about dining spots on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.