Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Bean apologizes after telling resident with respiratory illness to vacate its outdoor benches



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.

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

i love it. if this was about icon or crowman you would have a bunch of complaints about gentrification , but since its about what the REAL problem of the east village (the new not respecting the older community) NOTHING , not a word.

the owners saying if we did nothing we would have people sleeping on them may be true but i think ANYONE can see the difference of anyone sitting for a minute and someone setting up camp. Whatever, this place sucks.

Anonymous said...

Seems the employee enjoyed having the power/authority to remove people.
The employee was not trained by The Bean to ask seniors especially if they
are in distress or need any assistance ?
No training should be necessary anyway, but did it not occur to this employee
that the person was elderly and just maybe needed to rest in between walking ?
Outright pitiful.

Donnie Moder said...

Here's the deal. 1. The employee is not on a power trip. Their employer tells them not to let nonpaying customers sit on the benches. See the sign on the benches, "For customers only!" He/she does not want to losetheir job. 2. Could this guy be more sympathetic? Senior citizen with a lunng condition just taking a breather because he is not a vagrant or loiterer, he is on his way to work but must rest - for a just minute on the customer only bench - to catch his breath.

afbp said...

i'm a five day a week (in house) customer---i see the back/forth issues that occur with bathrooms/benches---i must say that ALL of the time (unless the recipient is belligerent) the manager/baristas are VERY POLITE as they navigate the minefield of asking non-customers to adhere to"clearly posted" policies :)

Anonymous said...

The Bean workers often look wasted and I think it's with good reason. Not only do they have to deal with the demanding "gluten free/special order/no icky things" types, I've seen them get hit on, be the subject of outright threats (both sexual and violent) because they won't give out free stuff to the crustys and homeless (they're probably making less than minimum wage and it gets taken out of their paycheck.)

Should they have asked the gentleman to move? No. Do they deserve to spat upon by our commenters as well as the public? No.

The owner wants to apologize and make amends for one of his people screwing up. The old guy is refusing to accept it.

nygrump said...

I hardly ever bother to go to the Bean or any cafe in the Village anymore because every space is taken up by pod people masturbating on their cell phone. The outside benches at The Bean are the worst, constant frantic self pleasuring with the cell phones.

Anonymous said...

I wish people would stop this "character of the neighborhood" defense. What happened was wrong--no ifs ands or buts. The fact that the owner has reached out is a good sign. And lets not berate hourly waged employees who are doing what they have been instructed to do.

Anonymous said...

the bean on 9th street has benches along the side of their building, on first avenue and on 9th street where there is also a bus stop.
one summer day i sat on one of these benches to wait for the bus. i'm an old lady. i might have had a cane that day.
anyhow, the manager? came out and told me i could not sit there, it was for customers only. i said it was right at a bus stop and i would only be there for a few minutes. she aid if i didn't move she'd call the police. she pointed to the sign on each bench that said for customers only.

did she have the right to make me move?
could the police have made me move or arrested me?
where does the public street become private?
and where is common sense and humanity?

Anonymous said...

The business is willing to be accountable for this. That's a good thing. But here's the other thing: too many of these newer businesses are a little oblivious to the fact that this is still New York City. It's changed for sure, but it still has many of the features of urban existence that it's always had. You don't want people loitering on your outdoor benches, or mistakenly pin a senior citizen with respiratory issues for a loiterer? Here's your solution: get rid of the benches. Until this place is completely transformed into the shiny little village it's in the process of becoming you're going to have these issues with 'street people'.

Anonymous said...

9:30am got it. he lost me on "provide the character of the neighborhood".

Anonymous said...

I assume restaurants pay a tax to use public sidewalks as in outdoor seating. I can see both sides of this story, yes the employee used bad judgment but yes the business has some right to clear tables or seats of non customers.

Let's hope both sides and kiss and make up.

Anonymous said...

Ever see the demographics of customers in Bean?

I've said this before when they first opened but it fell to deaf ears both here and at management at Bean. People were celebrating Bean's opening , including me (let's just say I don't fit in the demographics of Bean's customer or the new EV for that matter)), since it was local and they used a local artist to its outside exterior. So I was excited to try it. I was next on line waiting to order but the baristas were just hitting on the woman in front of me for...ever and when I tried to get their attention, just ignored me. Finally when it was my turn, baristas had this supercilious tone of voice "can I help you"? Afterwards, a barista kept following me around, even when I sat at the tables, pretending to clean the tables while eyeing me suspiciously. Then she disappeared and came out with the manager/owner where he then took turn in eyeing me. I felt uncomfortable so I walked out and the manager followed me all the way to out the door make sure I was out the door. Basically, I was literally chased out, for what? Being not looking like white and/or privileged? Wrote them a letter on the that event and never heard a response. Racist and elitist. Only reason why the owner reached out now to the offended senior is that it is making the social media around. Otherwise, they would've ignored this and chased him permanently out too.

Freddy S. Zalta said...

It was wrong because of this one incident; it is not wrong to tell someone to not sit on the benches because they are for paying customers. A lot of times I go to sit outside and there are people just sitting there forever and they have no future plans of leaving. I don't know what transpired in this case exactly - people are always blowing simple misunderstandings into tabloid headlines. What I can say is this - at each Bean I have been to I have always had exceptional service and exceptional coffee.

Terilyn said...

As an employee of The Bean, I can assure you that we always do our best to be courteous to all customers and residents of the east village. What occurred here was an unfortunate event that is not representative of the values we hold. As someone who has worked here for nearly one year, I am positive that this is not a regular occurrence. The other employees and myself all feel horrible that this happened and we honestly hope this can be resolved. Unfortunately sometimes we do have to ask non-customers to move from our benches, but this specific situation should not have happened. I feel honored to be an employee of The Bean because of the wonderful people I've met, and it saddens me to see this beautiful community hurting.

Anonymous said...

I don't really see a problem with what the Bean did. The benches say very, very clearly that they are for customer use only. You can even see it in the picture.

He sits anyway. Does that make him a terrible guy? No, not at all. But, when someone comes along and asks him to move, what does he do? Did it occur to him that it's not unfair at all what he was asked? Or if the bench really mattered, perhaps it would have been fairer still to buy a coffee or a cookie or something?

No, instead he puts on the entitled act. Then, how dare they not pay respect to him after all of the "character" he brings the neighborhood (bullshit!) and tries to stir up complaints to patch up his wounded pride. People who feel the need to demand respect usually have very little understanding of the concept, particularly that it is earned. Usually best earned by paying it. The owner of the bean acted in a very gentlemanly way and the old guy is still having a huff. He sounds like he just wants to be a diva. Seems a bit old to be so focused on throwing his toys out of the pram.

Anthony said...

I know the barrister who spoke with the person on the bench. If you met her, you'd know she is not capable of being rude or unkind. It's often a tough job serving the public, and she's met many a cold stare with a welcoming smile. There has to be a balance, and the owners and most staff I know try to work that balance daily. I've been coming to this hood since the mid 1960 and have lived here for close to 30 years. The Bean was a true community gathering spot (not just mindless cell phone addicts, but that's something thats permeated the world, I agree), until nefarious developer Ben Shaol suddenly kicked them out for a Starbucks. They transformed the long eyesore of this corner into a place with much light, and yes, benches for the passerby and the customer. Ike was human enough to be concerned and offer to speak directly to this person. Thank you Ike. Thank you EVGrieve for keeping an eye out for our hood.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time to call the city about these stores commercializing the city-owned sidewalk. These benches are illegally taking up public property.

Anonymous said...

Thats a weird way for Mr. Arian to characterize the situation. For instance, my boring ass doesn't bring any character to the neighborhood--does this mean I am not deserving of everyday respect? His response is a little contentious IMO.

Donnie Moder said...

Then there will be no benches outside, period.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:20 am:

The city of New York (i.e. the government at Havana on the Hudson) is a criminal entity. In a free society the sidewalks would be private property. In fact the property owners have a responsibility to clean and maintain them out to a certain distance, not the criminal, stealing entity at Havana on the Hudson. It's a good thing that restaurants and cafes put seats on the sidewalk where they are appropriate, as it provides some character to what would otherwise be a humdrum and boring environment. Since they own the seats, they have a right to police them. This doesn't justify what The Bean did in this case, but the owner did apologize.

Anonymous said...

"They have no respect for me or any of the people who provide the character of the neighborhood."

Ok. People who add to the character of the neighborhood don't usually go around demanding that others recognize the character they're adding to the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

The Bean made a (small) mistake, they apologized, the guy that did wrong by should accept the apology and move on, not cling to his victimhood.

Anonymous said...

@ 11:20 AM
No you are wrong. The benches are 100% legal. Make yourself useful and look it up.

2ndAvegraypaanther said...

@ 10:27 am, I feel your pain and appreciate your spot-on description of my life in the new EV. I love this hood, and have been here 40+ years, but have been reduced to perpetual "outsider" or "suspect". When entering local Duane Reade, often greeted by hearing "security walk the floor". When frequenting a neighborhood sports bar to enjoy my hometown football team (Eagles) required to pay per drink, as opposed to everyone around me gleefully running a tab. Always eager to assist any neighbor in need, but once held at gunpoint, in my own building, by a responding cop who assumes I must be the "perp." If recent arrivals are so intimidated by ANY type of diversity, perhaps they should stay the fuck in Iowa. Kermit got it right. It ain't easy being....different.

Anonymous said...

so an older guy got breathless and parked his ass on a bench to recover and would have been on his way but was told to leave. and he left. end of story. owner said sorry. again, end of story.

what a fucked up society we live in---who owns the bench? who owns the sidewalks? he should have bought a coffee first! etc. wait til you get old and your heart/legs/whatever are about to give out on a PUBLIC sidewalk while you pass a PRIVATE bench.

Anonymous said...

THE BEAN BENCH

Ext. A bench in front of the Bean

Man (M) is sitting on the bench. Maybe he just finished his purchase from The Bean, maybe he never bought anything from The Bean at all. Barista of The Bean (B), a gentle, softspoken young lady in her early twenties, notices Man sitting on the bench but doesn't recall him purchasing something from The Bean. Manager of The Bean (A) is in his office working. He's originally from Worcester, MA.

B: Sir you have to get off the bench unless you plan to buy something from our establishment The Bean (points at the sign) as the bench is for customers only.

M: Make me move you fucking hipster millenial, go back to your iPhone whatever number it is now - 6? 7? An' fuck you.

A: What's the problem?

M: Who the fuck are you?

A: I'm the fuckin' manager.

M: Yeah so? Your barista told me to move, I told her to fuck off. Now what?

A: Now I'm asking you to get off the bench.

M: Or else what? What are you gonna do? Make me move? Make me move. Literally come over here and remove me from the bench. Get the fuck outta heah.

A: Okay man I'm calling the cops.

M: I thought so - good luck getting one to remove a guy off the bench, fuggin jagoff?

Whaddaya think? Where should it go from here? Have I made "Man" too Brooklyn native/Joe Pesci-esque? Should I remove the namecalls minus "hipster millenial" (that stays in)?

Dave - Everywhere said...

OK - they probably shouldn't have been rude to the guy, if he explained his issue. But the owner is trying to apologize and the guy won't accept it? So tired of the "all about me" vibe these days. Accept the apology, get some freebies and probably the enternal OK to set you ass on the bench whenever you want.

Anonymous said...

@12:42
I did look it up. No permit = no benches.
https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dca/SidewalkCafeMap/index.html

Anonymous said...

I think Mr. Arian should accept the owner's apology. I am sure he was upset at the time of the incident and likely embarrassed, but the kid who told him to move on was just doing his job and had no way of knowing he had a health issue.

And you know everyone they shoo away claims to be sick or has some other reason for loitering. None of us even know if this guy really has an illness, though I do believe him.

And how could the employee possibly know this guy had respiratory issues and needed a break? My aunt has breathing issues and has to sit and rest from time to time, but she can still carry on a conversation and doesn't appear to be in distress, so the same thing could have easily happened to her. If she was in true distress, she would sit down and ask someone to call for help.

Again, I know Mr. Arian is probably frustrated, but he needs to put his ego aside and realize this could have happened to anyone, and the owner clearly feels bad and apologized, showing he has empathy.

If anything, Mr. Arian should go and sit and have a coffee with the guy and the employee and use this as a teaching moment. He can probably give them some advice on how to tell when someone like him is truly in distress versus when they are dealing with someone who is lying.

Anonymous said...

@2ndAvegraypaanther

exactly what I'm experiencing in the new EV #progress, #change, #EmbraceChange. Good to know I'm not alone.

Thing about places like The Bean, they claim to be serving all and welcome diversity yet their staff, most are from vanilla and homogenized America, have never encountered someone not their like or kind, and when they do they treat them as beneath them or someone who would harm them. Underneath of it all they're prejudiced on who gets treated well in their establishment. If a person not of their preference enters their precious establishment, they think you are staining their image and are nor exemplary of their target patron thus the staff is afraid that you will repel the young, hip, and beautiful people.

If a young and/or rich and/ or white and/or beautiful and/or woman rested in their bench for a few minutes to rest their heels or legs from CitiBiking, I'm sure the staff would've turned a blind eye and probably give them free drinks. Seems like staff is picking on the weak and vulnerable. The newbie white and/or privileged would never experience this because they are sheltered by their whiteness and/or privileges and can always threaten to call their mommy and daddy and their lawyer.

Anonymous said...

I just read the full story on DNA Info, and this part of it caught my attention and made me question how ill Arian was:

“I don’t think you could fully grasp how annoying and dehumanizing and ageist this whole thing is,” said Arian, who says he has been stopping by the shop on his way to work for roughly five years, and has been hassled in the past for loitering.

So it's clear this isn't the first time an employee has had to ask him not to sit on the bench if he isn't a customer, and this makes me see this situation in a new light!

Anonymous said...

This is where you can see the results of a generation that has very poor people skills due to spending most of their time staring at a SCREEN. They are massively deficient when it comes to dealing with REAL human beings who are not just like themselves: the elderly or infirm or anyone who isn't glued to their phone screen. They have very little ability to interact appropriately in situations that require good judgment, as opposed to what is written in their little corporate-training manual.

Anonymous said...

If it's such an issue for them, then get rid of the bench. It's not like a sidewalk cafe which requires a permit, and where it's apparent that tables and chairs are there for customer service. This is a bench on a public sidewalk. And what are the customer rules? Can you sit there and play with your phone for 90 minutes after you've finished your coffee?

Anonymous said...

Next time he should just go sit in a Starbucks where they let anyone who is conscious sit around all day.

Anonymous said...

@3:26---so is there a quota as to how many times some ailing person can sit for free on a bench? seriously? that changes things for you?

tell you what: let's just get rid of all benches outside these overpriced pretentious *neighborhood* places and the problem is solved. feel ill? tough. sit on the sidewalk and go crawl home.

all I can say is thank god I wasn't busted when I sat on that same bench ONCE (honest!) to fix the laces on my shoe...

Anonymous said...

@Terilyn sounds very sincere.
Anyways, this is not the first time something like this has happened at the Bean.

Anonymous said...

@3:31 bullshit. This has nothing to do with phones. Why do old people always blame the phones? Well, be that as it may, if you want to look at people skills, the old codger is the only one that comes off as having zero people skills.

There is a bench that says in huge letters FOR CUSTOMERS ONLY. He sits down and is asked to move by an apparently nice young mild mannered woman. Then, he gets in a huff about it and starts going on about how much respect he is due and how he does this great service of bringing "character" to the community. Further, as 3:26 points out, it looks like this is not the first time he's been asked to move on and yet keeps doing it.

So, someway somehow he manages to get this built into a public thing. The fact that he even had the interest to do so tells me that this is a very small and very petty man. Then, the owner of the Bean, being the bigger person offers a very nice gracious apology. And what is the old guy doing? He's still, very frankly, acting like a baby. Being asked to move off a bench is not as he says "dehumanizing." It's just not that fucking bad.

Yet, you seem to question the employee's people skills. The girl was doing her job. The bean was acting fairly in asking him to move along and then later offered to be the bigger person about the whole thing. Meanwhile, the other guy--who was in the wrong in the first place--is just acting like a spoiled little princess. You sound completely unqualified to speak about people skills.

Anonymous said...

I felt for the guy until I read in the DNA Info story about how he has been "hassled" for sitting on one of The Bean's benches before. This doesn't like like a one time thing where he was out of breath. It sounds like he does this all the time, they recognized him, asked him to leave if he wasn't going to buy anything, and then he ran out and called the media like he was some victim. I am so annoyed by our new tattletale society.

Jesus said...

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.

blue glass said...

when is a bench on a sidewalk legal?
where is the property line and does that matter?
what about the proximity to a bus stop or fire hydrant, or the width of the sidewalk?
who decides if a bench is legal? dot, highways, consumer affairs?
if sandwich signs aren't allowed why are benches?
what is street furniture and what are the rules governing it?
what about private property on public streets?
who pays for monitoring, if any?

Anonymous said...

11:20 AM: "I know the barrister who spoke with the person on the bench."
The Bean has hired lawyers to monitor the benches? British lawyers?

Anonymous said...

Seriously? I'm in the Bean almost every day. It's about the most permissive environment that one could ever hope for. They let people do and get a way with a lot. But it is a business after all. So yes, every once in a while they do ask non-paying people to buy something or leave. Both inside and outside. I've seen it happen over and over again. I never seen any employee do it in a way that wasn't respectful and non-threatening. It's just business. If once every three year's someone with a medical condition (that is undisclosed to the staff) gets asked to move and is inconvenienced in some way, that's unfortunate and worthy of an apology. From what I understand, IKE tried to apologize as soon as he found out about what happened. The article states "According to DNAinfo, Arian has so far refused Escava’s personal attempts to apologize." What's that about? Ike and Sammy are good guys. They work hard, employ a lot of people, and are very respectful of the neighborhood. One very, very minor incident happened and they immediately tried to apologize. Do they really deserve to be roasted over that? And to all those who are bent out of shape because some barista was flirting with a girl, please get over it. I'm sure that never happened in the Sixties? I've been in and out of the East Village since 1979. There have been a lot of changes, some good, others not so much. But I can assure you of one thing. All the junkies that used to shoot up in the bathrooms of the various cafes's and bars in the neighborhood weren't that respectful of 68 year olds with heart conditions. There's a lot to miss about the "old" neighborhood and I know that from personal experience. But The Bean is not the cause of the ills of the universe. Accept Ike's offer of an apology, let him buy you a coffee (or a juice, or whatever you want). I'm sure he'd be happy to do that. Then get on with your life. If you have have to use the Bean's benches to rest every now and then, 999 times out of 1000 it's not going to any issue at all.

Anonymous said...

As someone who is 65+, I resent the tone about Michael as an old codger, etc etc, as if age is the qualifying point or disqualifying point in this story. I remember Michael from his time as an actor in the off-off Broadway movement. That doesn't entitle him to any special privileges, but I mention it. Again, if I remember correctly, when he moved back to NY (from Texas?), Ellen Stewart (if you don't know who she was and what her legacy is--I don't know what to say to you), asked him to work in the box office at LaMama. All that is neither here nor there--just a context I bring to this story. The coffee shop probably overreacted, Michael probably overreacted. The story should end there. The owner apologized (and I think now understands the power of social media to spread information and misinformation). I often wonder about Gen Xers and millennials who have established their rights of entitlement at coffee shops when they set up with their laptops at the opening bell and occupy tables forever and a day--is that their entitlement because of their age? It doesn't disturb me--nor is their cell phone use a point against them. This is the world we live in today. What I am annoyed at is the tone of some of the posts stressing Michael's age and the appearance that he, even if he is an old codger, should know better than to infringe on--what?? A bench--for a couple of minutes??

Anonymous said...

@4:30pm: You've proven my point very nicely! "Why do old people always blame the phones?" How do you know (but you assume!) that I'm old? I may be 40 years old and have grown up with good manners and no need to be attached to a phone to confirm my existence. There are still many of us around.

God forbid someone might be having a heart attack, an asthma attack, whatever, and would sit on a Bean bench. He or she needs to fall on the sidewalk and maybe die, just so they're not taking up precious "private bench" space.

In the meantime, presumed "customers" are on the benches at the Bean near me for hours on end. Maybe the Bean should establish a time limit, the way McDonald's has, for sitting there - and post THAT on a sign on the benches.

As to young people having very poor interpersonal skills, that's not my opinion, that is FACT. You can easily google any number of articles discussing the fact that young people are sooooo glued to their phones, and so lacking in social skills, that many of them have no idea how to behave on a job interview. They have to be TOLD to shake hands and make eye contact. So yes, a huge number of young people have a serious deficiency in their interpersonal skills.

But hey, just wait, because some day YOU will be on the other side of this equation, and then you'll find out how it feels to be given the bum's rush under circumstances like these. In fact, considering all the young people I see sucking down their cigarettes or vaping as fast as they can, it won't be too long before we have a lot more people who (a) don't look "disabled" and (b) get out of breath & need to rest for a minute or two. You'll find them all sitting on the pavement or the curb.

Anonymous said...

I agree, and some of the assholes on here pontificating about business ownership rights blah blah blah regarding a fucking bench on a public street makes me wonder whatever happened to common decency and compassion for someone who probably hated to have to stop like that. I know I would want to get home and rest comfortably as soon as I could. You think he really wanted to sit there for hours on end on a dirty and noisy street? Seriously?

And why is it that when some people buy just ONE coffee and sit at a table for hours working/playing games on laptops/phones, that's perfectly ok?

I am glad the owner apologized though--he gets it. The barista acted officious, and I couldn't care less how "nice" she is---to others. This old guy probably felt humiliated which is why he doesn't feel too inclined to play nice now.


Anonymous said...

You aren't reading the law correctly. A permit is required if TABLES and seating are used. Seating only, like a bench, does not require a permit. The only requirement is that at least half of the sidewalk remain free of "furniture" including bike racks, mailboxes, etc, AND the minumum width of open sidewalk be at least 8 feet.

kopp said...

I'm a guy in my 80s and rely on the benches in front of the Bean on 9th street. I have lung and heart problems and need to rest frequently. I've never been told to move on. The benches are on city property and if I were asked to move I tell 'em to call a cop.

Anonymous said...

How you know there is no one's side to take in this nonstory: People are now writing entire essays only vaguely related to this prissy old-schooler who won't accept apologies and the battle for domain to an annoying coffee shop's bench. Jesus, Empire Biscuits cannot reopen soon enough.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who owns a private business, a hair salon. A couple of elderlies who live in the nearby building go in there every other day to wait for their taxi service or Access-A-Ride to run errands or visit friends/family at a nursing home. The elderlies aren't customers. Yet while in the salon, they are polite, sweet, and respectful. They engage the customers, those that are willing, in a conversation while they wait for their ride. They bring character and esprit to the salon.

Point being is be neighborly. If you're going to claim to be a neighborhood coffee shop, then be so. If The Bean knows that Mr. Arian occasionally sits there for no more than a couple of minutes to rest there, then let him be, unless a customer needs a seat or he's bogarting the seat from a customer and being disruptive.

This is what happens when you have a neighborhood of transients. They're not here long enough to get to know their neighbors or how a neigborhood, not an amusement park, functions. The Bean maybe 'local' but it's not a neighborhood cafe; it works the same as their chain competitor.

Anonymous said...

11:07 PM: The regulation defines unenclosed sidewalk café as "a space on the sidewalk which contains readily removable tables and chairs." I don't think this means that you can place all the chairs you want outside, so long as you don't have any tables. But I've asked the Dept. of Consumer Affairs what it means. The benches don't seem readily removable, so maybe they are impermissible on that basis. If the seats are on the owners property this would obviously not apply. Can everyone agree that if these benches are not properly licensed then the Bean has lost the moral high ground, and middle-ground...similar to claiming a city parking space by putting a few traffic cones in it.

Eden Bee said...

In The Bean's defense they put up with a lot of crap . I mean A LOT. I am in there all the time and people use the bathroom to shoot up in. When the workers knock on the door to ask if they are okay they are told to fuck off and then they have to break into the room and get the person out. I like the Bean because there ARE a lot of characters who hang out there. Its the closest thing to Alt Cafe around now. Which was a haven for the weird and artsy. Many older people hag out at the Bean . One area is a designated chess area where no laptops are allowed to be used and anyone on one is told to close it. Whether they are old, young, white, black blonde brunette the same rule applies.
I have been there at times and every single bench at times was being slept on or was taken up by someone aggressively panhandling people passing by. Like cursing and yelling at moms walking by with their kids. I have been there at night when someone who is crazy and dangerous called up and said they were coming by at closing to shoot up the place and slash all their throats because they were kicked out of the bathroom. When I asked about that weird call the girl told me they get tons of those every day and night. Calls where they are threatened with getting killed as they lock the gates.
All kinds of people work there including people I know who live in the area. Also, they hired Jim Powers to do all this mosaic art and they payed him well and he can get anything he wants from there whenever he wants it, both drinks and food.
I can see both sides of this...I really can. If they guy was feeling ill of course he can sit on a bench without buying something and rest until he feels better. I just hang out in there a lot and I have seen the workers deal with some crazy shit. Like having their lives threatened when asking someone nodding out on a bench to please move somewhere else.
I have fun hanging out in there and Felton Davis sets up his telescope on the corner at times so we can look at a lunar eclipse or Jupiter.
I dunno...I sure wouldn't want to work there and deal with they have to on a daily basis. But of course an older person should be able to sit and catch their breath. So yeah..i see both sides. Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

If they're going to be a prig about their benches, they should put a lock on them, just like the Hell's Angels bench.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who works in any shop really ought to realize that anyone else of any age could have a health issue at any time. How about the first question being-- are you feeling okay? Do you need assistance?

I'm so over the ageism that has overtaken the EV (and much of the rest of the city.)

I hope the next person who feels ill and needs to stop on a bench -- ANY bench -- is treated with more respect.

Anonymous said...

53 comments. good lord.

Anonymous said...

The East Village is No Country For Old Men.

Jill said...

The bench does not have a permit and they don't "pay a tax" for having it. The way I understand the rules, benches slide by, using our public streets for their private business. Only tables with waiter service require an outdoor cafe license. However, they do "own" the bench which is on a public street. So who gets the last word on benches? If you were standing in front of their store all day can they ask you to move? Can ask but you don't have to. Loitering is only an offense if there are other factors such as gambling or prostitution. Call the cops and they will likely side with the shop, they were still arresting people for loitering after the laws were struck down as unconstitutional. And even if there is no actual law regulating the benches, the shops/bars/stores seem to get the benefit of the doubt by the cops. It's a gray area for sure.

Anonymous said...

@2:23pm: EXACTLY! Thank you for saying it well.

Anonymous said...

The fundamentals of this incident is the guy left the bench when he was told to.

If he didn't leave the bench, this wouldn't be an issue.

Grow a pair of balls dude. What's The Bean gonna do? Call the cops on you for loitering?

"Hello this is (Manager) of The Bean. There's an old man sitting on our bench in front of the place who hasn't bought anything. We asked him to get off the bench and he told us no, he's resting due to a health issue. We asked him again and he told us when he's ready to get up and fuck off."

Cop: Ok sir, we'll see what we can do. (Thinking: This asshole calls us up about THIS? I'm not sending over anyone.)

Anonymous said...

@ 3:25: Except the conversation would never go that way. If they called they would probably say there's a guy who refuses to leave and is now trespassing. But do they ever call the police at the Bean? Repeated police incidents are probably not good for business.

Anonymous said...

I am more concerned about this man's health. What kind of respiratory illness has he been diagnosed with and what kind of treatment is he getting? If he is stopping there all the time and getting hassled (it has happened more than once, according to DNA Info), I worry he is seriously struggling and isn't getting proper treatment. If he needs help, I am happy to donate. Does anyone know him? Bickering about the bench is a waste of his time. He needs to make his health a priority.