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Scooby Scoop: Political fundraiser; From ruins of ‘The Riv’; Ex-Gem Spa space to be coffee shop? McNally Jackson move

BATS HOW THEY LIKE IT: Allie Ryan, running for City Council District 2, and Francesco Gonzalez and Bridget Tuck, East Village candidates for district leader, held a lively fundraiser at Joey Bats bar on Avenue B on Sat., April 22. Among those throwing their support behind them were Mike Cole of Mikey Likes It ice cream shops, who we hear is reopening in the East Village; Coss Marte, head of CONBODY and CONBUD and brother of Councilmember Christopher Marte; Felicia Young of Earth Celebrations and the Ecological City procession (mark it down: the procession is Sat., May 13); Robert Galinsky of Book Club Bar on E. Third Street; drag icon Appolonia Cruz a.k.a. “The Queen of the Bronx” and Reverend Carmen Hernandez. The Tompkins Trio played a wide range of Latin and pop classics and DJ Alexis Ortiz of La Mega 97.9 FM spun the tunes. To be clear, Christopher Marte did briefly attend the very beginning of the event, during which he got on stage and announced his endorsement of Gonzalez for district leader; but he is not endorsing Ryan for City Council against incumbent Carlina Rivera. The Democratic primary election is Tues., June 27.

Robert Galinsky. (Photo by @chrisryanaction)
Allie Ryan with Coss Marte of CONBODY and CONBUD. (Photo by @chrisryanaction)
Members of the Tompkins Trio performed at the fundraiser. (Photo by @chrisryanaction)
Felicia Young of Earth Celebrations spoke onstage in support of the candidates (Photo by @chrisryanaction)
District Leader candidate Francesco Gonzalez. (Photo by David Sanders)
Appolonia Cruz, “The Queen of the Bronx.” (Photo by David Sanders)
DJ Alexis Ortiz manned the turntables. (Photo by David Sanders)
(Photo by David Sanders)

RIVIERA TO LITTLE RUBY’S: The former home of the Cafe Riviera on Seventh Avenue South at W. Fourth Street will be reopening as a Little Ruby’s Cafe. Apparently, it’s been in the works for a few years now. This is Ruby’s, “the Australian concept restaurant” with home-style cooking, not Ruby’s, the bankrupt California hamburger chain. But they do serve a top-ranked burger, the Bronte. It will be good to have something there since “The Riv,” a pioneering and popular “sports bar,” owned by the late Norman Buchbinder, after a decades-long run, closed in 2017. The property has sat empty — and with a tilted corner doorway, to boot — since then.

The former “Riv” will become a Little Ruby’s. (Photo by The Village Sun)
(Photo by The Village Sun)

EGG CREAMS TO COFFEE? The former Gem Spa space at the corner of St. Mark’s Place and Second Avenue is also still vacant, but the word from locals is that it might become a coffee shop in the near future. That’s what we heard from a merchant selling hats and sunglasses around the corner on St. Mark’s and also from a staffer at Printed Matter St. Mark’s across the street. Meanwhile, on another corner of the intersection, the former Dallas BBQ is being renovated into a new bar.

The former Dallas BBQ space is becoming a new bar. (Photo by The Village Sun)
The scene inside McNally Jackson was more bustling than at the former location. (Photo by The Village Sun)
Climate change and Patti Smith prominently displayed. (Photo by The Village Sun)

A NEW CHAPTER: After 19 years in Nolita (as some call it), McNally Jackson Books has moved six blocks west to 134 Prince Street, between Wooster Street and West Broadway, into the heart of Soho, with all its foot traffic. We don’t know about the rent differential, but when we stopped by the other weekend, the number of customers inside the new place was booming compared to what we used to see at the former spot. Also, as some staffers mentioned to us before the move, the new place’s entryway is much better than the previous cramped one.

The sidewalk wall was the biggest part of the renovation. (Photo by The Village Sun)
A view of the work in progress during the depths of winter. (Photo by The Village Sun)
(Photo by The Village Sun)

GRAVE CONCERN: The Second Cemetery of Congregation Shearith Israel, on W. 11th Street east of Sixth Avenue, underwent a major renovation over the past year, including the rebuilding of its street wall. Work wrapped up just a few months ago. Founded in 1654 by Spanish and Portuguese Jews from Dutch Brazil, Shearith Israel is America’s oldest Jewish congregation. Its first burial ground is in the Lower East Side’s Two Bridges and a third is on W. 29th Street in Chelsea. Speaking last summer, shortly after the work began, Zachary Edinger, the congregation’s sexton and assistant cantor, told us, “The planning and design of this project have been going on for years. It’s very exciting and gratifying [to start] for those of us who have been working on this project for some time.”

UMM, THANKS, CRONUTS: A segment on NPR radio noted that it’s the 10th anniversary of Soho chef Dominique Ansel’s invention of the inscrutable cronut. This, in turn, the reporter said, led to the craze of foodies Instagramming anything and everything they ingest. What hath Dominique wrought? Yes, cronuts, we know, but… .

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