The long-anonymous voice of the influential East Village blog EV Grieve on Sunday decided to reveal himself to his readers. John Elsasser, who does live in the East Village, posted a Letter From the Editor claiming that he, and a handful of helpers, have been creating the blog’s content since 2007. He made the decision to unmask himself after becoming convinced that a local news outlet had “designs on publishing a ‘Who Is EVG?'” exposé. He did not name the news outlet, but he appears to be referring to a piece published this morning at New York Magazine‘s Bedford + Bowery blog titled “The Story of EV Grieve, a ‘Greta Garbo for the East Village.'”
After much prodding from the reporter, I eventually agreed to answer some questions via email for the story, but only once I felt convinced that the outlet wasn’t trying to out me. I was ultimately wrong.
Elsasser says he grew up in Ohio, edited his high school and college newspapers, and now edits publications for a nonprofit. He started the blog in 2007 to document the growing number of business closings in the East Village. He was initially inspired by a Page Six article that mentioned two of his favorite neighborhood bars, Mona’s and Sophie’s, were for sale. Ultimately, those two bars remained open and he decided to shut down the site. But Jeremiah Moss, creator of the similarly themed Vanishing New York, convinced him to keep it alive. Since then, he has relied on tipsters, word-of-mouth, and his own observations, to break stories on failing businesses, development plans, and other neighborhood goings on. The Voice named EV Grieve the city’s Best Local Website in 2014
Now that he’s no longer anonymous, Elsasser says he’s unsure about the future of the site.
I’ve always loved this neighborhood, for better or worse, and I probably always will. That sounds corny, but it’s true. That drives me more than anything.
I’m not sure really what’s next for the site. We’ll see how this goes. [Updated: I’m not planning on shutting down the site right this moment … I’ll keep posting for the time being…]
The Voice reached out to Elsasser and will update this post if we hear back.