Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Another noisy bar" slated for Avenue A; actually, make that several noisy bars, perhaps

Unfortunately, I couldn't make the latest noisy bar community meeting on 13th Street last night...

I went to the one last summer in which the Superdive manager attended. I still recall the longtime resident who said that "this isn't a neighborhood that 'sits on its ass' and looked at the Destination and Superdive reps and said that they are officially 'put on notice.'"

If anyone attended last night and wants to pass along details... I'd appreciate it...

Anyway, there's plenty of reason for concern. Take a look at this month's CB3/SLA slate on Monday ... all sorts of activity on the northern stretch of Avenue A:

-- El Camion (El Camion III Inc), 194 Ave A (trans/op) (The Raven)
-- Percy's (Steelbar 180 Inc), 210-212 Ave A (trans/op) (Al Diwan)
-- MBM Lounge Inc, 212 Ave A (trans/op) (Forbidden City)
-- Corp to be Formed, 503-505 E 12th St (trans/op) (I'll have more on this one - the former Mundial and Totem)

Plus, for good measure, the popular Westville at 11th Street is applying for a sidewalk cafe license...

Meanwhile, as I posted on Saturday, there was an "open house" this past Friday at 5 p.m. (!) for the new bar/restaurant going in the old Raven space at 12th Street and Avenue A...

I've asked several neighborhood power brokers about the open house... and no one knew a thing about it. Jill at Blah Blog Blah, who has chronicled many of the noise-related issues in this part of the neighborhood, said that she walked by Friday at 5:30 p.m. "I ... didn't notice any event."

And she echoed my thoughts. "Come to think of it, what an inconvenient time to have an open house, right when most of us working stiffs are still commuting. Maybe [the owner] thought he'd get his support from the students who live in the building."

Previously on EV Grieve:
New bar slated for 12th Street and Avenue A

Observations from last night's noisy bars meeting


Anonymous said...

They're right that this block needs any more bars, but what ever happened to the concept of innocence until proven guilt? Unless these block members went to the open house, they don't know what the restauranteurs' intentions are for the space. It's like they're conspiring at this block meeting to drive out any business, regardless of whether or not it meets their demands to be good neighbors.

Todd Shaffer said...

Agree with above... This sounds very "old-codger" like.

Listen, in a time when this city can use all the tax revenue it can get, and the East Village is more or less a designated young zone when it comes to nightlife and restaurants, if these additions bring something appealing enough to stay in business I say support them.

Oh, and you must be joking about Westville. If you are actually bitching about them having sidewalk seating I'm lost for words. There's a line out of the door for that place on the weekends, might as well have them sitting.

The thing that I loved about the East Village over the last five years was the sidewalk culture and the liveliness at night. I suppose to each their own but if you want quiet streets at night there's plenty of neighborhoods willing to accomodate.

Jill said...

In fact, members of the community did meet with the potential owner of the El Camion so community opinions out there are not based on conjecture, but on facts gathered.

In my very humble opinion, looking at his menu and the floorplan, he is doing what has happened to many other new establishments in the East Village - an intention for a restaurant with a bar that winds up being a bar with some food.

Destination is a perfect example of this. They presented their application as a restaurant, serving food to within an hour of closing. But it is a bar, through and through.

For El Camion, the light Mexican food menu (burritos, tacos etc) with a very long list of cocktails and a 9 person bar in a small space screams bar, not restaurant. If they were a restaurant they would not want to sacrifice so much space for a bar, but use it for tables, and also a more substantial menu.

Just my opinion. I do wish the open house had people there but I couldn't find anybody who knew about it in time, and then they could have formed their own opinions.

Anonymous said...

Mundial, which was on 12th Street between A and B, also invited neighbors to come over for a meet and greet before opening, then proceeded to become a noisy nuisance, driving everyone in the building above and across the street crazy for a few years with loud music.

Is there anything that can be done to stop El Camion, or is it a done deal given that they are transferring the license from The Raven?

glamma said...

i just want to say that westville should absolutely under no condition be granted sidewalk seating. as it is there is a permanent trafic jam outside the place which will only continue to worsen through the summer. you literally have to walk in the gutter to pass by it. why would you say they might as well be sitting? the last time I checked, the side walk was for PEDESTRIANS, not yuppies having brunch. i also would never eat there because their crowd is absolutely horrific. the overt yuppiness makes me lose my appetite instantly whenever i walk by it. how do these people stand themselves? places like this really and truly accelerate the yuppie infestation of the east village, in a very visable way.

Anonymous said...

Who are these busybodies always trying to shut down businesses? The place hasn't even opened and you're already mad?

And it's the East Village! People move here specifically because of bars and nightlife. Obviously if you want a quiet neighborhood with no restaurants of bars, you shouldn't be living here in the first place. It's like moving to some sleepy suburb and then complaining about the lack of nightspots!

glamma said...

do you not see a difference between superdive and say, ottos shrunken head? not all nightlife is created equal. i love to party and do it ALL the time, but i HATE seeing increasing hoardes of jocks and obnoxious collared shirt frat idiots acting like maniacs in my hood.

sallyannemarie said...

All the people pushing so hard to keep the bars out of the neighborhood are part of the reason the ones hear and opening are so obnoxious.
As a person trying to open a small business in the city, who has lived in this neighborhood for 15 years, and worked at places considered good, bad and ugly I have seen a lot.
Most block associations, community boards, and landlords are so scared that they bite before they are hurt. Making the smaller businesses unable to recover or every even sign a lease. The larger ones can pay twice the rent when the landlord who doesn't want a restaurant, but will allow one for a price. The bars who get noise complaints until the owners agree to pay the tenants rent.
People who complain are in fact making it near to impossible for an upcoming place to open. Many new owners are not in a financial position to be squeezed dry by everyone. The city licenses, lawyer fees, and legal fees are huge enough.
Quality life issues are fine and understandable, but when a business with money flourishes even though they clearly don't care about quality of life while others never get a chance...well it just doesn't seem right.
What is good for the goose should be good for the gander. While DOA gets no license nor does Le Poutine (which is now closed) because of laws...but Ciefuego's and Diablo Royale are allowed to while being in the exact same neighborhood does that seem reasonable?
I don't know what the answer is. I know my perspective has changed. I used to love that I lived under a bar and there were parties in my backyard every night. Now I am the grumpy cat having neighbor who doesn't like noise.
I do however understand what neighborhood I live in, why I moved here, and that you are only young once. I guess I just wish life was easy and fair.
I also wish that if people were concerned about noise they would keep being concerned and not shut up when their rent is paid.
I am speaking about more than one space in the neighborhood that makes this a practice.
I have just seen time and time again that right and wrong don't matter, but ego stroking and money sadly do.

Jeremiah Moss said...

where do people get this notion that the EV is a "designated" nightlife destination? it's a residential neighborhood that, in very recent years, has become oversaturated with noisy bars, thanks to a lack of regulation.

people have lived in this neighborhood for decades. they didn't come for the 24/7 party.

i wish people would give up this ridiculous argument about "you shouldn't have moved there if you didn't like to party." when i moved there several years ago, it was far from suburban quiet, but it was not the nightmare of noise it is today.

and not all of us can just up and move wherever and whenever we like. there are financial and other constraints to contend with.

sallyannemarie said...

People of all races, creeds, and sub cultures can be obnoxious idiots when drunk...I have seen loud patrons at Peter Luger's and at Pyramid club.
There are goths and freaks who sometimes were loud at Korova and the Bank (oh, how I miss those places), and there where B and T hookah smoking drunkards in front of Le Souk.
Your opinion is determined by the subculture with which you identify.
A yuppie standing in front of Westville, prob looks in disdain at the punks standing in front of Odessa.
New York belongs to everyone, that is why so many people love it and move here. Pointing fingers and calling names solves no problems. I have been at Otto's for illegal after hours many times in past and I know the crowd was not behaving in a manner respectful of the hour and neighborhood.
People are going to drink, some people are loud after they drink. Watch TMZ or any crap tabloid show to realize money and clothing doesn't buy manners and class. Actually, I have witnessed a lot of entitlement and rudeness with money (and that was just my ex husband and friends).
Business owners can only do so much...but making a climate where only the business who can pay neighbors, exorbitant rent and so forth doesn't solve anything.
That is what is happening. If you are willing to pay the landlord 10,000 instead of 6,000 he will look the other way. If you pay your upstairs neighbors rent they won't call 311.
We should celebrate diversity, realize that people at times are going to be loud. I sure there were times in the past that we all have been loud and drunk in public. Just because we did it in New Orleans (which has residents who like to sleep, just ask anyone including me who has lived there), Key West, or the Bahama's doesn't make it any different than visitors coming to the East Village to drink.
Alcohol makes money....until that changes nothing will......

Mason Reese said...

I DID attend the meeting last night and for the most part it was quite civil. To refresh your memory...we applied as a neighborhood bar & grill serving American comfort food, which is exactly what we do! When you snuck into Destination looking to trap us with hidden video and photographic evidence, you never took the time to find out that we do in fact have a late night menu in place. BTW, I've agreed to close our windows by 10pm during the week and 11pm on the weekends, which truly seems to be the only issue with the people who attended the meeting. OH..btw..I was the ONLY owner who attended!

EV Grieve said...

Hi Mason,

Thanks for the comment — and thanks for taking the time to attend the meeting... people appreciate knowing who's being a good neighbor.

Anonymous said...

I have lived here for 20 years, and there are some long time bars that are great neighbors and respect their residential neighbors. Unfortunately, the owners who have creeped into the area in the last five years or so don't care about the hood because they don't have real ties here, and they act like they're going to be good neighbors--like Mundial did--to get their liquor licenses and then they do whatever the hell they want because once a place has a liquor license it is hard to get it taken away, and it won't be taken away for noise violations, which are also hard to confirm because of course every time the city comes out to measure it is the one time the bar is quiet!

Jill said...

And one more thing - Mason, I do appreciate it if you are closing your windows by 11pm, which was certainly not the case last summer. It will be a big improvement and I know the neighbors will notice and appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

I live in this neighborhood, have for years, and I love it. I understand the noisy bar issue. But now everyone who eats at Westville is considered a yuppie? Woah, people. I go there in sweatpants. I eat with friends. And now I'm a yuppie you all hate because I like turkey burgers? I thought this was a community of people working together. Boy was I wrong. But really, first time in my life being called a yuppie. I wonder what kind of stereotype we should box "glamma" into. And shame on Westville for being a successful restaurant! Shame!

Jill said...

Mason - when I went in there and took that little video in fact I did ask if there was food and was told that the kitchen closed at 10pm. I just went in tonight at 9:20pm, it wasn't packed but had a pretty nice crowd. The windows were closed (thank you). I counted 4 people eating food. There is a big difference between a bar that serves some food and a restaurant that serves drinks.

I'm sorry I missed the community meeting, I had plans to go to a bar and eat food then go to the theater. It was not a restaurant, it was a bar. And I ate food and had a beer. I would never mistake it for a restaurant even though they served delicious cheesesteaks.

Jill said...

Who are these busybodies? I'd be glad to introduce you. You'd be surprised because we are your neighbors. You probably haven't seen us, we blend right in.

You might have noticed that there were people here before you arrived. Believe it or not, you have neighbors who have lived here for many years, during times when we had to trudge through the snow without shoes and ride the rails collecting pennies.

You've heard of "neighborhoods" right? Like where your parents live? Where people raise their kids, work their jobs, make art, go to school, cook meals, watch TV, garden, gossip, sit around & drink cocktails? It happens here too. Yes it does.

Do you seriously think there aren't enough choices of places to drink? Have you thought this through? No you haven't, because you have no reason to care what it's like to live here, because you won't be here long.

Or, do something surprising like make a contribution, find out who lives next door, help the old lady carry her groceries up the stairs, buy an ice cream at Rays, join your local garden and help compost, learn the history of that weird looking guy who sits outside playing bongos. You might notice something on your way to Wall Street that isn't money.

Do you expect that people who've lived here for years aren't supposed to care about their neighborhood? Just like in any neighborhood, we want to live in the place we want to live in, not the place you think is cool to spend a couple years. You will be long gone after breezing through drunkenly (because no way will you raise your kids in the CITY where there are so many bars), but we have made our homes here. We STAYED because we appreciate what we have (had) and are willing to work (or at least sign a petition) to protect the place we love and our quality of life.

The bottom line is that a successful neighborhood, where ADULTS want to live, is about BALANCE. These busybodies would like to see DIVERSE businesses that cater to the community, not only to tourists. Places we would support on a regular basis, like butchers, fishmongers, grocery stores, shoemakers, tailors, laundromats, clothing stores, book shops and all types of small businesses that are disappearing. Places that make living in the city livable, conveniences so we don't have to rent a car to buy a steak or a leek.

The people who moved here because of the bars, as you suggest, have done so only in the past 4-5 years and will be gone within another few when they realize they can't live with a roommate forever and have an actual sex life that doesn't include voyeurism, or when too much fucking in a bar bathroom hurts your back. It's a rotating cast of characters with no investment in this neighborhood. That is fine, but don't insult the people who made it the place you also like to live.

The rest of the people who have been here for 20+ years care about this community. If you really think that living in a place of 100% bars is fun, then you are a very sad soul who probably eats too much take out food and will have high cholesterol soon - but be careful, St. Vincents is closed so the emergency rooms are going to be a big mess. But you will get more condos to choose from instead! Yay!

If you care so much about having more and more bars at your fingertips, and want to encourage landlords to charge top dollar to discourage any other kind of business to open (because you too would like to be a landlord), you are welcome to come to a Community Board meeting and show your support. This is your right, as is ours to try to stop the over-saturation on a few blocks that used to be very quiet and pleasant. I have yet to see that happen. But if you do, be sure to say hi, I'll be glad to help you write your term paper on city planning where your dream city has no services, only liquor. Because that's what I do for my neighbors.

sallyannemarie said...

Let me introduce myself, another neighbor, as I stated before I have lived here for 15 years.I know its not 20, I realize that people who are born here will say I am not a New Yorker. I lived on Clinton and Rivington, which I know is the LES...but nearby. I have been on 6th btw A and B for 8 years.
Anyway, I came to New York because I was a angry picked on goth kid from a small town and had seen movies and read books about New York City. I thought the entire city would be like St. Marks and was shocked when it wasn't. I did feel immediately at home for the first time though.
I have worked in this neighborhood almost my entire time here. You may not know me by name, but I am sure we have passed each other on the street many times. I may have even cut your hair or served you food.
I don't think anyone has said they want a neighborhood that only has bars. They are not however always the enemy. I have witnessed lots of loud activities and drinking done on the street by underage kids. They aren't all the enemy either. There isn't an enemy, we are all looking for the same things, love, acceptance and happiness.
I think, and could be wrong, that people commenting on this blog are invested in this neighborhood. If not they wouldn't take time out to be reading let alone posting.
Do you work in the service industry? Do you know what it is like to have only done hair and worked in restaurants your whole life? Because that is the only life my husband and myself know. He moved to New York from Egypt ten years ago and says it is now in his blood. It is in my blood as well.
I have been on both sides of this issue. Trying to turn a profit in the restaurant industry is difficult and it is taxing work. A great deal of bars do set out to be restaurants. Patrons leave when they can't get a glass of wine or beer. There are studies by Zagat and the National Restaurant Association showing that half of all New Yorkers have a drink with lunch. Slowly the restaurateur sees that more money is made by serving a larger percentage of alcohol to food.
Who is at fault? We all have to make a living. I remember busy nights at a restaurant I managed when I couldn't be happy we were busy. I tripped over myself hoping that nobody would be loud or to drunk or do anything that would cause a disturbance. The stress and pressure is enormous. On one hand you want to be busy and happy on the the other you have constant worries about the neighbors. Some who will complain about anything.
A friend who lives on 3rd street has had a downstairs neighbor suggest his dog wear socks because the noise of him walking is to loud. Cont...

sallyannemarie said...

My husband and I don't have other skills to fall back on. We have over 5o years of restaurant experience between us. The only way to move up in the service industry really is to become an owner. That is becoming increasingly difficult because we and people like us have some how become the enemy to the neighborhoods in which we live before we even sign a lease.
Neither of us drink, by the way. Me because I indulged in to much of everything for about ten years and my husband for religious reasons. We would though serve alcohol at a restaurant, it's fine by me if people want to drink. I sure did my share and it has a hefty return on the dollar.
Yes the noise bothers me sometimes, but the hippocrates bother me more. Community board meetings and block association meetings are an ego stroking one sided joke most times. Yes, I have been and do go when time and scheduling allow.
Liquor licensing is based on who you know and how much money you have. I have seen it happen time and time again. We live in a resolution area, but if you go to high school with a board member you are in or if you are willing to pay your neighbors rent, etc. Almost every restaurant and bar in the neighborhood does it because their is no other way. I should complain to the bar above me to see what I can get. Oh right, I knew it was there when I moved in...
Urban planning is about diversity and compromise. To often in seems everyone has only one agenda. We want what can help us most times and forget the people on the opposing side our just that people.
The owners of restaurants are people, some who also live in this neighborhood and do care about it. They have families and children. It's not just restaurant, the salons I have worked in were also affected by the "quality of life" police. One was ticketed by the Community Board for their "gender biased pricing". The board didn't want to hear the reasons why the prices were different or that the owners live in the neighborhood and have a child at the Earth School. They only wanted to be right.
Sometimes you need to step back and see the forest instead of just the trees. And also sometimes one needs to stop gripping so tightly to something because that is another way for it to slip through their hands.
I think that is what has happened here. People who have been burned before are so afraid it will happen again they try to squeeze everyone out. That is what helps drive prices up and people out. All I am trying to say is don't be so quick to judge. There are those of us out there, who are long time residents (maybe not as long as you, but I can't help where I was born) who don't want an over saturation of bars either. But I am not going to campaign to close them. I would like to see a resolution area stay a resolution area know matter who the owner knows. I would like to see a little bit more fairness and kindness. To often owners are in the position of Sisyphus.
I empathize with Mason Reese and Westville East, what would you like them to do? Close? Turn away paying customers, so their stores sit vacant? I know what it's like to try to be a good neighbor, but when the person you think is coming in to welcome you is there to yell at you or catch you doing something wrong it's very difficult.

Reader said...


I'm currently living in the buidling above the open space where El Camion is supposedly moving in. I need to be honest and say I'm not the least bit happy about it.

My room's window is on the avenue a side and with Superdive alone I sleep with my AC unit on every night just to drown out the noise. Clearly thurs, fri & sat nights are the worst.

When I moved in our landlord told us the space downstairs would be a "retail space" and would not be looking to have a bar or restaurant move in. Since this space has been empty for over a year now I'm sure they've lost tons of money on this and are looking for anyone to move in. I just left a voicemail for my landlord to call me back to discuss this. I really don't want to move out as the apartment is great but I feel I should be compensated in some way.

Unfortunately I was out of town for the last meeting to discuss but would be more than happy to attend the next one.

Jill said...

Dear Reader,
PLEASE contact me (click on my profile to get to my blog) and I would be very happy to talk to you about what is going on with the space and what you can do to help. That space hasn't been empty for over a year, it's been empty for four years since your building burned down in 2006.

mikkyzs said...

I have lived on 13th St for close to 30 years.It was more peaceful when it was a drug market.At least everyone left after shopping! Now all the obnoxious B&T folx hog all the parking spaces, then puke and piss all over before leaving their spots and knocking over my motorcycle!The damage is is obvious and no one is left to pay for it! Walk down the block Saturday and Sunday and see all the broken car parts; light lens and etc. Yeah, we really need more of this...NOT!