Some longtime East Village residents are upset with the Bean after a bench-clearing incident last week at the location on Second Avenue and East Third Street.
Friends of Michael David Arian, who works in production at La MaMa, said that he stopped to catch his breath on the benches outside on East Third Street. A worker reportedly told Arian, who has a respiratory illness, that he needed to purchase something or leave immediately.
"I am a senior and have breathing difficulties and need the rest on my way to work. The Bean insisted I move. So I did," Arian, 68, said in an email. "They have no respect for me or any of the people who provide the character of the neighborhood."
We reached out to Ike Escava, owner of the Bean, which also has locations on First Avenue at East Ninth Street and Broadway at East 12th Street. He told us the following via email:
We have always welcomed senior citizens to sit on our benches. I was made aware of this incident by a post on Facebook and reached out to Mr. Arian immediately and personally apologized. I am available to speak to anyone that would like to discuss it in more detail, I'd especially appreciate the opportunity to speak to Mr. Arian and apologize face to face. We consider ourselves to be part of the East Village community and hope that people realize that even people with the best of intentions can make a mistake, as we did in this situation.
Here's more from DNAinfo, who reported on this incident yesterday afternoon:
The mishap underscores the difficulties faced by the establishment in trying to strike a balance between being a good neighbor and making room for paying customers, said Escava. The shop’s benches are constantly overrun by loiterers who stake out the space all day, some of them homeless, he said, and the struggle to keep them usable means that sometimes baristas have to ask folks to clear off.
“We have a big challenge because we have a lot of people who sit all day,” he said. “There are a lot of homeless with nowhere else to go — we’re always watching the benches, and we have to watch them or they would have people sleeping on them.”
According to DNAinfo, Arian has so far refused Escava’s personal attempts to apologize.