Stone Street Acquires 440 West 47th Street 

"Jeffrey Kaye’s Stone Street Properties closed this week on the purchase of a 47-unit Hell’s Kitchen rental building from Los Angeles-based MWest Holdings for $23.5 million."

"The five-story elevator building, located at 440 West 47th Street between Ninth and Tenth avenues, spans more than 37,000 square feet and includes a 3,700-square-foot, basement level commercial unit. Roughly three-quarters of the building’s 46 apartments are market-rate, according to sources with knowledge of the transaction, while the rest are rent-stabilized."






SSPNY's Downtown Taco Tour! 

SSPNY's Downtown Taco Tour!

SSPNY gets ready to eat with our hands on our downtown taco tour!


No question, we're living through some sort of Golden Age of Tacos these days in the East Village/Lower East Side/Nolita part of town. Yes, it's been pretty great around here for tacos lovers (eg, me) for some time now, with the likes of Tacombi at Fonda Nolita, the two Pinche Taquerias, Hecho en Dumbo, and Alex Stupak's marvelous Empellon Cocina, among other spots. But in the last few months a whole slew of new taco joints have opened in SSPNY territory down here, five of which I've been able to try so far. Here's the report from the field, in order of excellence.  

SSPNY enjoyed the chicken liver tacos at Chef Danny Bowiens hotspot Mission Cantina!
Mission Cantina 
Chef Danny Bowien's joint has been slammed every night since it opened in November, and rightly so: not only is this place a total blast (the crowd, the music, the decor), but the tacos are terrific, generously portioned, and come in a wide variety of classic and creative combos. The Chicken Liver is awesome, for example, but so is the pork-and-pineapple Al Pastor. And the rest of the Mission Cantina menu--the non-taco sections--may be even better. Located on Orchard and Stanton. More info here. 

According to SSPNY, the tortillas at Otto's Tacos were not something to miss!

Otto's Tacos 
Two things make the newish Otto's Tacos exciting: excellent, well-but-not-overly marinated toppings (the shrimp and carne asada are personal favorites); and even more excellent tortillas. The tortillas are unique in that they're made from masa flour (and they're made right there up front, which is fun to watch), which makes them thicker, and more chewy, than your usual corn jobbers. Filling, too! Also good: the masa fries, with spicy dipping sauce. Located on Second Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets. More info here.       

Tacos Morelos new shop served up excellent fare, according to SSPNY!
Tacos Morelos 
Even though this modest spot has only been open since the fall, Tacos Morelos is no stranger to the neighborhood; the Taco Morelos cart has been a fixture on 2nd Street and Avenue A for years. But now the crew has gone brick-and-mortar, albeit on a small scale (there are maybe 10 seats here), and the results are more than a little satisfying. I tried two of their tacos just the other night, a spicy Mexican Sausage and a lively Shrimp, and both were first-rate. I was less delighted by the Cemita sandwich, which I thought too bready, but others have said only good things about these, and the rest of the extensive Tacos Morelos menu. Located on 9th Street near Avenue A. More info here. 
Tacquitoria's creations were smothered in delicious cheese and sauce. SSPNY loved 'em!
This narrow, ramshackle spot on Ludlow has late-night drunk food written all over it--and it definitely does the job, if that's what you're looking for--but Tacquitoria is also surprisingly successful at delivering high-quality ingredients in smartly-balanced bursts of favor. Think snack-sized tortilla tubes, filled with your choice of meat, smothered in cheese and sauce. Maybe it's not so surprising, actually: Tacquitoria is run by a trio of Marc Forgione vets, and they clearly know their way around the kitchen. Anyway, these are good, and fun to eat. Located on Ludlow Street, just north of Stanton. More info here. 
Sadly, SSPNY thought Sembrado did not live up to the hype!
Finally, I had high hopes for Sembrado, opened last summer by Danny Mena of Hecho en Dumbo renown, but unless things have changed since my day one dinner, I'd say skip it. Not that Sembrado is an unpleasant place to be--in fact, this is by far the prettiest of the bunch--but the tacos are so meagerly fortified, that even if you spend $25 to get the necessary five to fill you up, each bite leaves you wanting. One interesting thing here: the spectacularly chewy Chicharron de Queso, which is like a fruit roll-up made from grilled edam. Located on 13th Street between 1st and A. More info here.

A SSPNY Mexican fiesta! Chef Danny Bowien opens the excellent new Mission Cantina on Orchard Street 

A SSPNY Mexican fiesta! Chef Danny Bowien opens the excellent new Mission Cantina on Orchard Street

SSPNY visits Mission Cantina located at 172 Orchard Street

A SSPNY Mexican fiesta! Chef Danny Bowien opens the excellent new Mission Cantina on Orchard Street

Some of my favorite meals of 2012 were at Chef Danny Bowien's Mission Chinese Food, the San Francisco import that brought fantastically spicy Sichuan (with a twist... always with a twist) to a packed house nightly on Orchard Street. So when Bowien announced that, for his NYC encore, he was going to be bringing his amped-up take on classic Mexican dishes, opening up Mission Cantina just up the street in the old Noodle Bar spot, well... I guess you could say this was maybe the most eagerly anticipated new fall restaurant on my list. And, as it turns out, my excitement was not misguided. The Mission Cantina crew is cooking up some of the best, most interesting (and generously portioned!) tacos in town.                  

SSPNY loved Mission Cantina's generously portioned tacos! 

I went to Mission Cantina on a freezing night during its opening weekend, and, no surprise, the place was jumping. The Mission Cantina menu is appealing from start to finish, but I pretty much stuck with the appetizers and tacos. Mission Cantina tacos are all priced at $4 or $5, which is standard these days, especially when you go to any of the new "California-style" joints that are popping up all the over the place. The difference at Mission Cantina: Chef Bowien piles on the meat (or veggie, as the case may be), and, crucially, doesn't skimp on the ancillary ingredients either. For example, the Chicken Liver Taco features fat chunks of the rich, creamy offal, but also boasts a major schmear of sweet-ish white bean puree and a tangle of pickled chilis, carrots, and crunchy slaw. This is a major party for your mouth. 

 The crispy beef and pork belly tacos were a hit with SSPNY!

The same formula holds true in all four tacos I tried. The first-rate Crispy Beef Tripe delivered plenty of its star ingredient (cooked perfectly, I might add), but came equipped with more of those pickled veggies, as did the Al Pastor (pork belly, wickedly fermented pineapple). Despite my love of all things meaty, the Bitter Greens and Roasted Corn Taco was just as explosively flavored and satisfying as the rest of my tortilla-delivered feast. And the rest of Mission Cantina menu is just a great! I loved my ceviche starter, a relatively huge bowl of raw Hokkaido scallops and tender beef hearts swimming with capers and olives for a sweet, briny, acidic, earthy, mineral-y, rich festival of flavors and textures. The only semi-dud of the night was the overly-vinegary Charred Cauliflower Escabeche side, which I only panic-ordered because they were out of the amazing-sounding Scrambled Egg, Uni, and Trout Roe dish. Next time.

 SSPNY tried Mission Cantina's chared cauliflower side dish!

Mission Cantina is located on the corner of Stanton and Orchard Streets, and is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m., and for dinner at 5:30 p.m. to 12:00 midnight. Closed Monday. Mission Cantina doesn't take reservations, and the colorful lively space is small, so expect a wait. More information and the complete Mission Cantina menu can be found here. 

SSPNY will definitely be back to Mission Cantina, which is open for lunch and dinner!


Nolita Neighborhood Guide: An Abundance of Art 

SSPNY Checks Out All the Best Art Scenes Around Nolita

SSPNY Heads to Nolita for One of the Best & Most Coveted Locales in Downtown Manhattan for an Enviable Number of Large Innovative Art Venues to Check out the Art Scene Anchored by the New Museum on Bowery Which Opened up in December of 2007.

Nolita is one of New York City's most coveted residential communities, both for its central location within downtown Manhattan (immediate neighbors include all of the hotspots of the Lower East Side, Chinatown, SoHo, NoHo, and the East Village), as well as its many more immediate pleasures. The last five years or so have seen an enviable influx of great neighborhood restaurants and cafes, plenty of high-end boutiques (especially along Elizabeth Street), and, not incidentally, a large number of innovative art venues. The Nolita art scene is anchored by the New Museum on Bowery, which opened in December of 2007, but also includes a number of fun, influential galleries as well as several internationally-recognized destinations for graffiti artists and street art fans. Here, then, is a quick look at some of my personal favorite art spots in the Nolita area...

SSPNY Also Checks Out a Number of Fun, Influential Art Galleries & Several Internationally-Recognized Destinations for Graffiti Artists and Street Art Fans Including The Hole Just North of Houston on Bowery Which is the Most Successful New Art Gallery to Open in Years Since Former Director at Deitch Projects, Kathy Grayson, Started Running it

The Hole
The Hole, located just north of Houston on Bowery, is possibly the most successful new art gallery to open anywhere in this town in years, both in terms of awesome exhibitions and talked-about events and opening parties. Kind of no surprise: The Hole is run by Kathy Grayson, former director at Deitch Projects (RIP), which was also known for its great parties, crazy events (the much-missed SoHo Art Parade among them), and excellent shows. Bonus: no matter how edgy and cool it is, the Hole's staffers are never anything but friendly and helpful. Go there often, get on their mailing list, this is why you live in New York City. Lots more Hole info here.

SSPNY Next Checks Out What Two Recent Additions Just Came to the Bowery-below-Houston Art Scene Including Sperone Westwater, Which has Three Levels of Gallery Space in a Super-Contemporary Foster + Partners Building That Opened in 2010.


SSPNY Even Peaks in Salon 94 Bowery Right Near the New Museum—The One with the Video Screen Facing Bowery. Also checking out Salon 94 Freemans Halfway Down the Alley and Made Famous by Taavo Somer’s Restaurant.

Sperone Westwater and Salon 94
These two recent additions to the Bowery-below-Houston art scene seem almost Chelsea-ish, with their gleaming interiors and frequent marquee names, but that's no reason to get all downtown reverse-snobby on them. Sperone Westwater has three levels of gallery space in the super-contemporary Foster + Partners building, and when it first opened in 2010 much was made of the giant elevator that was supposedly part of the art (or something?), but really, there's nothing really to see or feel when you're inside, and I now always take the stairs. Which I do often, because Sperone almost always has something good. More Sperone info here. It's also never a bad idea to pop into Salon 94 Bowery, right near the New Museum--it's the one with the video screen facing Bowery--and see what they've got going on in the basement. Usually the answer is: something cool. See also Salon 94 Freemans, about halfway down the alley made famous by Taavo Somer's namesake restaurant. The full Salon 94 scoop is here.

SSPNY Pops Up at Gallery Nine5 on Spring Street to See Things Specializing in Stuff from Street Art to Other Cartoonish Works.



SSPNY Checks Out Dodge Gallery on Rivington for a Variety of Odd Sculptural Pieces from “Early Career” Artists, Making Good Use of its Duplex Layout by Putting Pieces in it Such as This Steamroller-Slash-Music Box Downtairs.

Dodge Gallery, Gallery Nine5, Jen Bekman
These three have also been in my regular rotation for a few years now. Dodge on Rivington usually has a variety of wonderfully odd sculptural pieces from "early career" artists, and makes good use of its duplex layout, like when they stuck a huge, playable, steamroller-slash-music box downstairs, the better to view it from all angles. Dodge Gallery information can found here. Gallery Nine5 on Spring Street seems to specialize in stuff with a street art or cartoonish sort of sensibility, which generally hits my aesthetic sweet spot. See more about Gallery Nine5 here. And Jen Bekman, though best known for her excellent affordable-art 20x200 project, also has a tiny space on Spring, mostly given over to photographers. The Jen Bekman gallery info is here, but make sure to check out her 20x200 site too.

SSPNY Lastly Heads to Jen Bekman, Best Known for Her Excellent Affordable-Art 20x200 Project that is Located on a Tiny Space on Spring Street.



SSPNY Pops Up at Gallery Nine5 on Spring Street to See Things Specializing in Stuff from Street Art or Cartoonish Works. SSPNY Lastly Heads to Jen Bekman, Best Known for Her Excellent Affordable-Art 20x200 Project that is Located on a Tiny Space on Spring Street.

The Bowery Wall and the Bank Building
Finally, the Nolita nabe is home to two of Manhattan's most consistently vital street-art spots. Once the site of a legendary Keith Haring piece, the now professionally- curated Bowery wall (which is actually facing Houston) has for a couple of years been handed over to a series of the world's best streets artists, including Aiko, Shepard Fairy, JR, Faille, Retna, Kenny Scharf, and, currently, How and Nosm. I've managed to catch several of these artists in the process of putting up their pieces, and it's a treat to watch them work. Here's a nice slideshow of all the recent pieces. And the Bank Building on Spring and Bowery has a long history of being a must-tag (or wheatpaste) spot for every street artist who comes to town. Historical footnote: the building on the corner of Spring and Elizabeth used to be the same way, until it was gut renovated and made into condos. BUT, before they cleaned it up, the developers invited an all-star roster of artists to put up whatever they wanted all over the facade and throughout the interior. The subsequent three-day public exhibition drew hours-long lines and was one of the best art shows I've ever seen. Here's a post with pics on that event.

SSPNY Finally Heads to the Bank Building in the Nolita Nabe for One More of Manhattan’s Most Vital Street-Art Spots on Spring and Bowery Which Used to be a Sweet Spot for Street Artists all Over Town.

written on 04/10/2013

Posted in: Nolita

Little Cupcake Bakeshop: Some of NYC's Best Baked Goods, Right in the Heart of Nolita 

SSPNY Heads to the Heart of Nolita for Some of NYC's Best Baked Goods at the Little Cupcake Bakeshop!

SSPNY heads to their newest neighborhood in the Stone Street Properties family in Nolita to check out first-rate bakery the Little Cupcake Bakeshop on the corner of Prince and Mott, in an area great for living, eating, shopping, and being on the go!

Every great New York City neighborhood deserves a great bakery. It can be fancy and French, old-school Italian, older-school Kosher, artisanal and Brooklyn-y, vegan and hipster, bread-centric or pie-based... whatever. As long as you don't have to travel too far to get fresh-baked goodies, made with skill and love, for a sweet snack or dessert for a crowd, then you are golden, my friends. The newest neighborhood in the Stone Street Properties family is Nolita, which is no question an excellent place to live for many reasons (food, shopping, transportation, location, culture, prettiness, all of it), including, of course, the presence of a first-rate bakery, the Little Cupcake Bakeshop.

SSPNY heads to the Little Cupcake Bakeshop alongside crowds of tourists and teenagers, to check out a menu that features a variety of cupcakes at this local Nolita neighborhood treasure-- using all locally sourced ingredients and 100% wind power to practice super energy-efficient daily operations, and with it's original location in Bay Ridge Brooklyn being declared the worlds first carbon neutral bakery!

The Little Cupcake Bakeshop, right in the heart of Nolita on Prince and Mott, is cute (almost too cute?), the tables are always crowded with tourists and teenagers, and, of course, the menu features many varieties of that too-often-too-silly treat, the cupcake. Nolita locals, don't let any of that discourage you! The Little Cupcake Bakeshop is a true neighborhood treasure, serving outstanding cakes (both cup- and layer-) baked daily on-site, in small batches, using locally sourced ingredients. And even the shop itself was constructed with care, using salvaged, recycled, or sustainable materials and employs the most energy-efficient practices available (100% wind power!) in its daily operation. In fact, the first Little Cupcake Bakeshop, in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, was declared to be the world's first carbon neutral bakery.

SSPNY claims that the menu at Little Cupcake's is among the top three or four cupcakes in town.. with cupcakes almost all available in layer cake format. The two cupcakes pictured are the chocolate bomb Brooklyn Blackout and the sticky Peanut Butter and Jelly. Aside from those are other favorites the Coconut Cloud, the Southern Red Velvet, and the meringue-y Black and White, all made with the same great moist consistency and to-die-for flavor.

All of which is fantastic for the city and the planet, and an inspiration for other small business owners, but unless the goodies are, in fact, GOOD, well... in this town you won't be around long enough to make a difference. Fortunately, the Little Cupcake Bakeshop is good. Better than good. In fact, these little beauties are easily among the top three or four cupcakes in town. I've had just about every flavor on the Little Cupcake menu--almost all of which are also available in layer cake format, which, if it were MY birthday, I would love, thanks for asking--and everything has always been wonderful. The chocolate bomb Brooklyn Blackout. The sticky Peanut Butter and Jelly. The Coconut Cloud, the Southern Red Velvet, the meringue-y Black and White: everything is always moist, the flavors honestly earned, the staffers friendly and fun, the coffee decent... it's always a pleasure, Little Cupcake. See you soon.

SSPNY even tries out the cheesecake at Little Cupcake Bakery in Nolita, as one of a handful of other options aside from cupcakes to enjoy such as pies, puddings, cookies, and rice-krispie treats

The Little Cupcake Bakeshop is located on the corner of Prince and Mott Streets, and opens during the week at 7:30 a.m., on the weekends at 8:00, and closes at 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and at 12:00 midnight Thursday through Saturday. They also sell pies, cheesecakes (see below), puddings, cookies and things like rice-krispie treats. Find lots more info about everything here.

The Little Cupcake Bakeshop is located on the corner of Prince and Mott Streets in Nolita, open during the week at 7:30am and on the weekends at 8am, closing at 11pm Sunday through Wednesday, and at midnight Thursday through Saturday!

written on 04/10/2013

Posted in: Nolita

Tacombi at Fonda Nolita: A Fun Beachy Vibe--Plus Excellent Tacos--In an Elizabeth Street Garage 

SSPNY Heads Over to Tacombi at Fonda Nolita for a Beachy Vibe and Excellent Tacos to Match in this Elizabeth Street Garage!

SSPNY Tries First-Rate MExican Tacos and Cinnamony Horchata at Fonda Nolita in a Yucatan Beach Vibe With Twinkly Christmas Lights and Their Signature Taco Truck Right in the Middle of Things on Elizabeth Street in Nolita

There's never a bad time to eat the first-rate tacos and sip some cinnamony horchata (or knock back a few cervezas) at the great Fonda Nolita, but I think I like coming here during the winter most of all, when the whole Yucatan beach vibe really makes you want to settle in and relax. You've got your twinkly outdoor lights strung from the ceiling, the faux-weathered hand-painted signage, the rickety tables and chairs, the non-cliche beach-party mix over the speakers (it's loud, but not TOO loud), and, of course, there's Fonda Nolita's signature "taco truck" smack in the middle of things, a fantastic vintage VW bus from which your Mexican goodies emerge.

SSPNY Has Been Boing to Tacombi at Fonda Nolita and Their Take-Out Counter for More Than Two Years to this Destination Taco Joint Right Next to Galleries and Boutique Shopping. With at Least a Dozen Taco Options, we First Chose the Al Pastor de Puerco With Sweet Chewy Meat, Spicy Sauce, and Sharp Pineapple.

Tacombi at Fonda Nolita (that's its full, official name) has been making the locals happy for more than two years now--the take-out counter does a justifiably brisk business--but the food and atmosphere here make it something of a destination taco joint as well. As a can't-miss date idea, for a quick snack during your area gallery-hopping or boutique-shopping rounds, for a raucous night out with the crew, Fonda Nolita works on a lot of different levels. And every time I've popped in for a taco or five over the past couple of years--and that's been a LOT of times--I've always walked away feeling happy and satisfied.

SSPNY Next tries out the Vegetarian Acelgas, a Heart Concoction Featuring Kales, Nopal Cactus, and Cauliflower, as well as the Crispy Fish Which Shows Off the Kitchen Skills Balance and Depth of Flavors, as Well as the Spicy Pork Quesadilla, La Gringa, For Warm Cheese. Though Nolita is already filled with Mexican Restaurants, Fonda Nolita is a clear stand-alone favorite.

It had been a few months since my last taco binge when I ate at Fonda last week and, if anything, their food is better than ever. There are usually a dozen or so different taco options on the Fonda Nolita menu, all of which range from solid to crave-worthy, but on this night I went with the Al Pastor de Puerco, which offers a terrific balance among sweet chewy meat, spicy sauce, and sharp hits of pineapple; the vegetarian Acelgas, a supremely hearty concoction featuring kale, nopal cactus, and big chunks of cauliflower; and, my personal all-time fave here, the generously-portioned Crispy Fish which, again, shows off the kitchen's skill with balance and depth of flavors. And because the night was especially cold, I tacked on a terrific spicy pork quesadilla--La Gringa, it's called--for a hefty shot of warm cheese. Even in a neighborhood not exactly hurting for good Latino food (Cafe Habana, Pinche Taqueria, La Esquina, are all within a few blocks, to name just three other options), Fonda Nolita remains a standout casual restaurant.

SSPNY also orders Take-out at the Counter for a Quick Snack During Gallery-Hopping and Boutique-Shopping Rounds in the Nolita area around Fonda Nolita on Elizabeth Street, where they also have food available for delivery.

Tacombi at Fonda Nolita is located on Elizabeth Street just south of Houston, and is open on Sunday through Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight, and on Thursday through Saturday from 11:00 to 1:00 a.m. More info and a complete Fonda Nolita menu, here.

Tacombi at Fonda Nolita is located on Elizabeth Street Just South of Houston, and Is Open on Sunday through Wednesday from 11AM to 12AM Midnight and on Thursday through Saturday from 11am to 1am.

written on 04/10/2013

Posted in: Nolita

Chez Sardine, Gabe Stulman's "Very Inauthentic Japanese " is the West Village's Newest Must-Eat Spot 

SSPNY Gives Rave Reviews to Gabe Stulman's New Must-Eat Spot Chez Sardine in West Village!

SSPNY checks out restauranteur Gabe Stulman's new Japanese Isakaya, Chez Sardine in the West Village Located on West 10th Street and admits it's an absolute must

If restauranteur Gabe Stulman didn't exist, the West Village would have to invent him. Or at least, they would definitely want to, for neighborhood dining in this part of town would be a far less interesting affair if Stulman hadn't shown up here from Wisconsin in the early-aughts and proceed to launch a string of what have quickly become everyone's favorite local restaurants. Just look at Stulman's track record. Over the past seven or so years, beginning with Little Owl and Market Table and now with his Wisco Group spots, the uniformly excellent Joseph Leonard, Jeffrey's Grocery, Fedora, and Perla, Stulman and his exceptional team of chefs have consistently hit it out the park. All of these places are within a half mile of each other. All feed lively mobs of happy customers night after night after night. All are can't-miss ideas for any occasion involving friends, sweethearts, family, and fun.

SSPNY snags a sushi-counter seat at Chez Sardine to try out a few dishes of Stulman and Chef Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly's Japanese-ish menu options including the Pork and Unagi Hand Roll from the menu's "snack" section.

No surprise, then, that Stulman's latest effort, the spanking-new Chez Sardine on West 10th Street, is another total winner. Part of it has to do with Stulman and Co.'s trademark blend of casual, homey comfort with a dash or two of romance and surprise. But a bigger part may be Stulman's latest recruit, Chef Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly, late of Montreal's justifiably legendary Au Pied de Cochon, which by the way also spawned Chef Hugue Dufour of the superb M. Wells Dinette at MoMA PS1. Anyway, I was lucky enough to snag a sushi-counter seat early the other evening and try a few items from Brunet-Benkritly's Japanese-ish Chez Sardine menu. The bottom line: I loved everything I ate, and can't wait to go back for more.

Another outstanding order SSPNY made on Chez Sardine's menu was the Beef Tartare, a generous "Small Plate" with rich, raw, coarsely-ground meat against the piles of fresh horseradish, dabs of biting " lime cream", bitter greens and hunks of buttered bread

There's a number of individual sushi offerings on the Chez Sardine menu, usually with a twist (Hamachi with Chicharron, Sea Urchin with Chopped Beef), and they all sound and look terrific. I went with the Pork and Unagi Hand Roll from the menu's "snack" section and was rewarded with a luscious, four-bite treat, the melty, sweet eel pairing beautifully with the melty, sweet swine, both complemented by the chewy rice and briny nori wrap. Also outstanding was the Beef Tartare, a generous "Small Plate", the rich, raw, coarsely-ground meat holding its own nicely against the piles of fresh horseradish, dabs of biting " lime cream", bitter greens and craggy hunks of buttered bread. But the highlight of the evening was Chez Sardine's menu centerpiece, the Miso-Maple Salmon Head, which is exactly that: half a head, stuffed with garlic, sticky with sweet (but not too-sweet) sauce, grilled to caramelization. It takes some work, this dish, and a willingness to get messy (and, not incidentally, to dig through the inside of a fish head), but there's enough intensely-flavored meat--if you're sharing, make sure you grab the cheek--and fatty skin to make it worth the effort. So thanks again, Mr. Stulman, and welcome to neighborhood, Chef Brunet-Benkritly.

SSPNY lastly orders Chez Sardine's menu centerpiece, the Miso-Maple Salmon Head, which is a half a head, stuffed with garlic, sticky with sweet sauce, grilled to caramelization and perfection.

Chez Sardine is located on West 10th Street just west of Seventh Avenue South, and is open Sunday and Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and on Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 1:00 a.m. Closed Monday. Lots more info, including a look at the complete Chez Sardine menu, here.

Chez Sardine is located on West 10th Street just west of Seventh Avenue South, and is open Sunday and Tuesday from 5:30 to 11pm and on Wednesday through Saturday from 5:30 to 1am brand new to the West Village

LI Families Displaced by Sandy Put Up in Luxury Apartments on Upper East Side for Free 

Hurricane Sandy moved them out — kind-hearted New Yorkers moved them on up.

Three Long Island families displaced by October’s hurricane have been put up in posh Upper East Side rentals ever since — for free.

The luxury 1-bedroom digs, which typically rent for $2,500 per month, have been a godsend to the families — whose lives were derailed by flood damage.

Surge waters flooded the first floor Long Beach home of Jerry Springer Show producer Lacy Edwards and her police officer husband, Brian.

When they heard through a friend that they could stay in a luxury rental for free, they were floored.

“It was unbelievable. We couldn’t pass it up and moved in right away... it really helped us a lot,” said Lacy. “There are really no words to describe how it made us feel. It’s overwhelming.”

They’re planning to rent a home in Long Beach next month so Lacy, who is expecting her third child in February, can be closer to her doctors.

“The stuff we lost were material things,” she said. “At the end of the day, it can all be replaced.”

Another two families stayed in the apartments only until recently, allowing them to get back on their feet.

That includes Erin Joyce, an accountant, who moved with her husband and 1-year-old son into a new Long Beach home one day before the storm — and were forced to evacuate from it the next day.

“We bought a house that didn’t need any work but within a couple of days it became a fixer-upper,” Joyce said.

And Antoinette Diamond and Anthony Borello lost all their possessions from their Long Beach basement rental in Sandy’s storm surge — including everything they were gathering for their upcoming wedding.

“It felt so good to take a hot shower and go to sleep in a bed,” Diamond said.

The pair recently moved in with Borello’s grandmother.

The apartments belong to the real estate investment firm Stone Street Properties, which was founded last year by Rob Morgenstern and Jeff Kaye.

“We talked about donating – money or clothes, but what we have are bricks, heat and water,” said Morgenstern. “All of a sudden that became a commodity.”

Kaye’s parents live in a Long Beach neighborhood that was ravaged by the flooding — which brought the plight of displaced families closer to home.

“It’s like a war zone out there. People’s homes were ripped to their foundations,” he said. 

Read the Article Here!

The West Village Gets Another World-Class Bakery with the Opening of Brooklyn-Transplant Bien Cuit  

SSPNY Tries Out the Newest World-Class Bakery to Pop-up in the West Village: Brooklyn Transplant Bien Cuit

SSPNY tries out one of Brooklyn's most popular bakeries, Zachary Golper and Kate Wheatcroft's Bien Cuit, a world-class bakery which first opened on Smith Street in Boerum Hill two years ago and now brand new to the West Village on Christopher Street

I know I just was raving about the amazing Mille-feuille Bakery on LaGuardia Place, that they make what are probably the best croissants in NYC, and how the macarons and the chocolate caramel fondant are pretty incredible. Also: everything else they sell there. But that doesn't mean I wasn't super-excited about the arrival of the spanking-new Bien Cuit on Christopher Street, as one Brooklyn's most popular bakeries gives it a go in the West Village. Because, really, is it possible to have too many world-class baked goodies in one community? The correct answer is: no. No it is not.

SSPNY tries out multiple sweets at this rare destination bakery on Smith Street, which has quickly earned them the love of the Borough of Kings, turning their Christopher Street locale into a rustic cafe with each savory delight, a loaf of their signature Miche bread, and here, a taste of Financier, topped with a pool of licorce-y Sambuca and crunchy chocolate "craquantes"

Zachary Golper and Kate Wheatcroft opened the original Bien Cuit on Smith Street in Boerum Hill about a year and a half ago, and it quickly earned the love of the Borough of Kings, becoming one of those rare destination bakeries that has folks from all over South Brooklyn traveling to try the sweet treats, savory delights, and the couple's signature loaves of Miche bread, a blend of rye and wheat flours fermented for 68 hours until juuuuuust right. Buoyed by their success, Golper and Wheatcroft have taken their magic across the river, transforming the former Corrado space on Christopher into a rustic cafe, with a counter area overflowing with deliciousness and seating for about a baker's dozen. The Bien Cuit crew couldn't be more friendly and excited by their new digs, and their enthusiasm is contagious. Good food and good vibes abound.

SSPNY also tries out the Blue Cheese Quiche which was absolutely first-rate, with mountain gorgonzola and mashed celeriac rich and creamy within a perfectly crisp, buttery shell, and then a Chicken Pot Pie to follow which can only be ordered at the West Village Bien Cuit

I stopped into Golper and Wheatcroft's new space right when it opened and ordered (and devoured) as many different items from the Bien Cuit menu as I could get away with without seeming like a total pig. Bottom line: two savories, two sweets, four big-time winners. The Blue Cheese Quiche was particularly first-rate, the mountain gorgonzola and mashed celeriac rich and creamy within a perfectly crisp, buttery shell. An excellent light lunch or afternoon snack. The Chicken Pot Pie, available only at the West Village Bien Cuit, needed a bit more filling, but the crust was so good, especially the lattice-work "lid", that it'll be a pleasure to try this again and see if they get the balance right. The dense, chunky was superb, and thewas even better. Stop in during your neighborhood rounds this winter, grab a cup of coffee and just about anything from the counter, and you're guaranteed a warming, satisfying experience.

SSPNY lastly tries out the Maple Yam Danish, which we swear was absolutely delicious paired alongside another baked good-- or just a cup of coffee

The West Village Bien Cuit is located on Christopher Street near Waverly Place (next door to Jeffrey's Grocery), and open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and on Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00. More info and the complete Bien Cuit West Village menu here.

The West Village's Bien Cuit is located on Christopher Street right near Waverly Place, and next door to Jeffrey's Grocery, open Monday through Saturday from 7am to 9pm and on Sundays from 8am to 9pm.


Rents in Manhattan Rebound to Record Highs 

A LITTLE more than two years ago, Tom Graney was paying a reasonable $2,200 for a spacious two-bedroom apartment on 11th Avenue and 52nd Street.

When Mr. Graney learned in early 2009 that his rent would be rising to $2,500, he decided to see if he could do better for his money. After all, it was just months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and many of New York’s most luxurious apartment buildings were desperate to find tenants, offering wildly generous incentives and cut-rate deals.

Mr. Graney settled on the Helena, a new glass tower at the corner of 11th Avenue and 57th. He found a one-bedroom with a home office for $2,840, and the management paid his broker’s fee and gave him one month’s free rent on a two-year lease.

“When you add in the month’s free rent,” he said, “it was really not much more than I would have been paying at my old place.” The new building was posh, with a fitness center and a rooftop deck that had stunning views. “It was nice,” said Mr. Graney, 28, a video producer, “and it felt like I was making progress.”

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Stone Street Properties Acquires 5-Property Manhattan Portfolio 

Stone Street Properties, a real estate investment firm recently formed by Gotham Organization alumnus Jeffrey Kaye and former Gumley Haft Kleier broker Robert Morgenstern, has acquired a small portfolio of five rental buildings in the East Village and the

Stone Street Properties Featured in 100th Issue of The Real Deal 

Long-time friends Robert Morgenstern and Jeffrey Kaye had often thought about leaving their respective jobs and going into business together.

Morgenstern, a real estate broker, and Kaye, a vice president at the Gotham Organization, dreamed of starting a real
estate investment firm, and as 2010 drew to a close, they felt the time was right.

“Nothing had been trading for months prior, and suddenly things started to
move,” said Morgenstern, who is married to broker and “Selling New York” star Sabrina
Kleier-Morgenstern. “We had access to some off-market deals. We could get them done
where no one else could.”

In January, they launched Stone Street Properties. Named after historic Stone
Street in the Financial District, the new company will own, operate and manage multi-
family buildings. Last month, Stone Street closed on it first acquisition, paying $32.6
million for 85 residential units in three West Village rental apartment buildings: 7
Cornelia Street, 11 Cornelia Street and 102 Christopher Street. The goal is to launch a
line of high-end buildings, branded as being part of the Stone Street portfolio.

“We’re taking these under-managed, under-serviced buildings and creating a
luxury brand,” said Kaye, who managed development projects and cultivated new
business while at Gotham.

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Stone Street Properties Featured in New York Post Article 

In an all-cash deal, two West Village apartment houses were sold for $32.6 million to Stone Street Properties.

The five-story walkup at 100-102 Christopher St. between Bleecker and Bedford Streets has 37 apartments and three stores and was built in 1920.

The five-story elevatored property at 7-11 Cornelia St. was constructed in 1900 and has 48 apartments and two stores along with a charming carriage house.

Seller Ioannis Danallis owned the buildings for 13 years and hired Laurence Ross, Christen Portelli and John Goldflam from the Highcap Group to market them.

With total income of $2.7 million and a net operating income of $1.9 million, the sale was completed at an income multiple of 12 and a 5.8 percent cap rate.


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