After years of anonymously reporting changes big and small to the East Village, the neighborhood blogger behind EV Grieve has outed himself. "Hello, my name is John Elsasser and I have been running this website for the past eight years or so," Elsasser writes in the site's first Letter From the Editor post, published on Sunday evening. Elsasser says his move to finally identify himself after an impressive commitment to anonymityincluding his refusal to fill out identifying paperwork for prior contributions to Curbedcomes ahead of an exposé by New York Magazine's neighborhood blog, Bedford + Bowery, that followed suit and published this morning. Elsasser claims that he's thought about revealing himself on the site for a while, but had decided not to because EV Grieve is "not a personal website, and the blog isn't about me or what I had for dinner last night or what I did this past weekend. It's a news site about the neighborhood, for the neighborhood."
Elsasser's post reveals that he grew up in Ohio and served as the editor for both his high school and college newspapers. Bedford + Bowery reports that Elsasser moved to New York in 1994, and has spent nearly the last two decades living in the Lower East Side and East Village. These days, Elsasser works for the Public Relations Society of America, based in the Financial District, where he is Editor in Chief of trade publication The Strategist.
Elsasser's website has drawn comparisons to Jeremiah Moss's Vanishing New York for what B+B refers to as its "town crier" mentality, so it should come as no surprise that Moss played a large roll in EV Grieve's maturation. Elsasser write that EV Grieve started as a way to document the last days of two neighborhood bars that were up for sale in 2007. Although the bars, Mona's and Sophie's, were purchased and operate to this day, Moss encouraged Elsasser through email to keep at it. Nowadays, B+B reports, the site is looked to more frequently than Google as a source for East Village news.
So what does Elsasser's big reveal mean for EV Grieve? Not a whole lot, at least for now. "I'm not sure really what's next for the site. We'll see how this goes," Elsasser writes, followed by the update, "I'm not planning on shutting down the site right this moment ... I'll keep posting for the time being..." And keep posting he has; Elsasser's published five new posts since coming forward less than 24 hours ago.
Meanwhile, fans are cheering Elsasser on from the sidelines. "Thank you so much for all that you dothe tireless reporting and documenting of this neighborhood, your humor, your generosity for allowing others to contribute and comment, and for creating an invaluable historical document. I read this site every day (sometimes more) and it keeps me going," handle Goggla comments on the post. Hopefully the outpouring of support across the web fuels Elsasser's fire, at least as long as there's news to report in the neighborhood.
@evgrieve is important and essential. Thank you for your tireless work on reporting on my beloved city. Needless to say, keep it up!— swissted (@MikeJoyceNYC) June 15, 2015
· A Letter From the Editor [EVG]
· The Story of EV Grieve, a 'Greta Garbo For the East Village' [B+B]
· EV Grieve [official]