Showing posts with label Gothamist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gothamist. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Report: Cloister Cafe owner sues state over suspended liquor license

The owner of the Cloister Cafe is suing the State Liquor Authority (SLA) after its license was recently suspended at 238 E. Ninth Street between Second Avenue and Third Avenue.

Here's the official report that the SLA posted:

On August 7th, the New York City Sheriff's Office requested assistance from the state's multi-agency task force at this establishment approximately 12:30 a.m. — well past the 11 p.m. NYC curfew. Investigators found the restaurant operating as a nightclub and hookah lounge with a live DJ, documenting numerous patrons ignoring social distancing with lines of customers congregating in front of the premises without facial coverings, at least twenty patrons consuming alcohol indoors under a fixed roof, and no receipts for food purchases. The inspection identified thirty-three significant fire and life safety violations, with the NYC Sheriff's Office issuing seven criminal court summonses.

The exclusive pandemic parties were reportedly hosted at Cloister Cafe — aka Café Tucano — by Provocateur, a former Meatpacking District club.

One recent attendee told Gothamist, in a story published on Aug. 4, that he saw "hundreds of people, nobody is social distancing, nobody is wearing masks. It’s like the normal club scene. There’s a lot of spenders there. If they do social distancing, they can’t make money. They need to have a packed room full of people to make money."

As Page Six first reported, Cloister Cafe claims that the SLA didn't properly investigate the alleged violations — and just copied the claims from Gothamist, which in part relied on two Instagram posts by "self-styled social-distancing watchdog" Kristina Alaniesse.

"Instead of investigating, the SLA decided to rely upon the Gothamist, which is hardly a legal treatiste," Cloister's lawyer Robert Garson told Page Six.

They believe the closure was "illegal, uninvestigated and uninformed based on a sole Instagram post."

"The liquor authority are acting like … they've imposed a form of [martial law] that they’re not adhering to proper investigation," Garson said. "There are lots of people hurting [in hospitality]. [Owner Nick Drobenko is] taking the fight, not for himself, but for them as well."

In a post yesterday about the lawsuit, Gothamist laid out their reporting that went into the original story:

In fact, our reporting was based on interviews with nearly a dozen people, including almost half a dozen who had been to their events in person. Alaniesse did however post two damning videos which were taken at the spot on July 30th and which were cited by investigators...

Multiple attendees told us masks and social distancing were not being enforced whatsoever at the club, and that parties were routinely going past 11 p.m. and early into the morning multiple times a week.

An SLA spokesperson told this to Gothamist:

[A]ny claim that Cafe Cloister’s summary suspension was based on social media posts or media accounts is demonstrably false. Both the New York City Sheriff’s Office and investigators with the state's multi-agency task force conducted an inspection of Cafe Cloister at approximately 12:30 am on August 7th — more than an hour after New York City’s 11:00 pm curfew for outdoor dining — and documented a multitude of violations, each of which put New Yorkers' health and safety in danger during a global pandemic.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Q&A with Jake Dobkin, co-founder of Gothamist and author of 'Ask a Native New Yorker'

After helping launch Gothamist in 2003, co-founder and native New Yorker Jake Dobkin enjoyed answering questions and offering advice (often unsolicited!) about NYC to staffers who recently arrived here.

Eventually, Editor-in-Chief John Del Signore suggested that Dobkin, a third-generation New Yorker who grew up in Park Slope, share his humorous and opinionated perspective to readers who may have questions about adjusting to the NYC way of life or to longtime residents looking for a unique point of view.

And so, in the summer of 2013, Dobkin wrote his first "Ask a Native New Yorker" for the news site, tackling a topic that people may wonder about but couldn't find an answer to: "Is It Normal For Roaches To Crawl Through My Hair At Night?"

Now, after 150 columns — addressing questions ranging from "Should I Wash My Hands After Taking The Subway?" to "When Should I Call The Cops On My New Neighbors?" — the series has been turned into a book. I recently asked Dobkin a few questions about "Ask a Native New Yorker."

You've written some 150 "Ask a Native New Yorker" posts for Gothamist. However, the book isn't a repackaging of those. What can readers expect to find in this volume?

I wanted to start from scratch here and really create a volume of advice that could guide a New Yorker from birth until death. I thought a lot of the original columns on the web were pretty good, but they were written under the usual blogging time constraints.

For the book. I had a lot more time and so I think the answers are a lot more thoughtful, and hopefully more amusing. Turns out banging out eight blog posts a day ain't the best way to create quality writing!

In the book, you write that to be considered a native New Yorker, you must have, for starters, been born in one of the five boroughs. What are your feelings about people who say they are a native New Yorker — they just grew up a quick LIRR ride away in, oh, Valley Stream?

I feel bad for these people, because the truth always comes out, and then they look like real chumps. Listen, I grew up in Park Slope — it's not exactly the most hardcore neighborhood in New York, and so I understand why someone might want to shade the truth on their origin story. In college I used to tell people I grew up in South Brooklyn or something.

But ultimately to achieve wisdom you must be honest with the world and yourself about who you are and where you come from, and anyway, it could be worse — you could be from Jersey!

Do you allow for any wiggle room for iconic figures from the city's past or present — people who made an impression on NYC's culture and history though they weren't born here and hence not native New Yorkers? People such as Mickey Mantle, Andy Warhol, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Patrick Ewing, Debbie Harry and Patti Smith to randomly name six...

Newcomers, immigrants and refugees from the suburbs all contribute to the wonderful tossed-salad that is NYC culture — I'd never denigrate anyone who took the extreme act of courage it takes to move here. That said, I think it's fair to say that natives have a different, and valuable point of view, that is too often overlooked, and which I hope the book shines a light on.

You went to school at Columbia. At the time while making your collegiate choice, did it occur to you that attending, say, Brown or Dartmouth, would have watered down your native New Yorker status by being away for four years?

I was raised by hippie radical communists in Park Slope, whose style of parenting was to avoid parenting as much as possible. So when it came to applying to college I was pretty much on my own.

Stuyvesant High School in those days had about one college counselor for every 950 kids, so there wasn't much advice there either — it was pretty much "don't forget to apply to college!" So I was actually totally unaware Columbia existed until after I graduated from high school — basically everything above 14th Street was like one of those old maps where the far north is labelled "there be dragons."

So I didn't apply there, and actually got rejected by every school except Dartmouth and Binghamton. Now, I knew I couldn't go to Dartmouth, because I had a feeling my whole sarcastic Jew schtick wouldn't play well in New Hampshire. So I ended up going to SUNY Binghamton for 12 weeks, and then dropping out, and at that point, finally, someone suggested I check out Columbia, and I did. It was like I discovered El Dorado — an amazing lost city of gold.

So I wish I could say my college choice was the product of my New York Native realness, but it was actually just a kind of ridiculous stumbling ass-backwards into a situation that worked for me. The moral of the story is I'm not letting my kids apply to any school you can't get to on NYC public transit. Maybe I'd make an exception for Rutgers or something.

The book provides a lot of helpful tips for people new to the city. Do you have any specific advice for residents who are new to the East Village?

I remember when I first got to Stuy, back in 1990 — I was 13, and in those days it was on 15th and 1st, just outside the East Village. Everything south was this giant mystery which took me years to unravel. I actually think the first time I walked down St. Mark's I was 20 years old! But since then I've developed tons of favorite spots, none particularly original — Veselka, Sobaya, 7B, etc.

One of the best secret spots in all of NYC — the New York Marble Cemetery off Second Avenue — I love going in there whenever the gate is open.

Do you still believe — as you write — that New York is the greatest city in the world? You finished this book before Hudson Yards opened.

New York is the greatest city the world has ever seen, and probably will ever see, since between climate change and our current politics, the human race doesn't seem like it has so much time left.

You can't let things like Hudson Yards bother you too much — New York has always changed at a blistering pace, and somehow we always turn out OK. I was up there [the other day] shooting the Shed, and I saw like four hot-dog carts already colonizing the edges of the site. I have no doubt in 10 or 20 years the place will be totally over-run with real New York chaos.


"Ask a Native New Yorker: Hard-Earned Advice on Surviving and Thriving in the Big City" (Abrams Image) is now available wherever books are sold.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Gothamist turns to Kickstarter to speed up its return

Back in February news broke that Gothamist was returning, thanks to WNYC and its parent company New York Public Radio — along with two anonymous donors — who had acquired the local news site's assets.

And yesterday (ICYMI), the Gothamist co-founders launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $100,000 by May 4.

Per Kickstarter:

And now it’s our priority to build out the site and bring back the Gothamist you love. We aim to get Gothamist back to full strength and make it sustainable for years to come.

With your support, Gothamist will have the resources to expand coverage of issues that are vital to the social fabric of New York City: transportation, affordable housing, gentrification, demonic landlords, immigration, and the living wage struggle. We’re proud of our past work on these topics—as well as our vibrant culture and food reporting—and we’re committed to deepening and diversifying our coverage of New York City.

Gothamist is now a part of member supported New York Public Radio, which is a registered 501c3. Your pledge is tax deductible, minus the value and/services of your selected reward and credit card processing and Kickstarter fees. At the end of the campaign, when we reach our goal and credit card transactions are completed, we will send out tax acknowledgement letters.

It’s simple: all funds raised with this Kickstarter will go to funding Gothamist. The first $100,000 will help revive the website and bring back our popular newsletter. It will also enable us to preserve the Gothamist and DNAinfo archives. But this is just the beginning. The more we raise, the better we can serve you.

As of this morning, they'd already raised more than $73,000.

And a few more details via the Observer:

It might seem strange for a site to crowdfund after being acquired by another company. But the Kickstarter funds, along with the funding for the acquisition, will help Gothamist relaunch faster than it would have otherwise.

“We were fortunate to be able to quickly shore up the support we needed to make the acquisition by connecting with funders who share our commitment to local journalism,” Jennifer Houlihan Roussel, vice president of communications for New York Public Radio, told Observer. “The Kickstarter will enable us to launch as quickly and as robustly as possible.”

Dobkin will handle strategy and revenue at the new Gothamist, while co-founder Jen Chung will be in charge of editorial matters.

After this initial funding push, Gothamist will transition to WNYC’s fundraising model, which relies on membership, philanthropy and sponsorship. Dobkin said he hopes to garner 10,000 to 20,000 subscribers for the site and also woo new advertisers.

Publisher Joe Ricketts abruptly shut down Gothamist and DNAinfo last Nov. 2 after the newsrooms of both sites voted to join the Writers Guild of America East. DNAinfo, however, will not be returning. Its archives will remain online.

In unrelated news about local sites, prospects remain at their dimmest for a return of EV Heave, though the publisher will listen to offers in the two-figure range, we're told.

For further reading:
Gothamist's Kickstarter Raises More Questions Than It Answers (Splinter)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Report: Gothamist will return via WNYC thanks to 2 anonymous donors


In a deal largely funded by two anonymous donors, WNYC is acquiring the news site Gothamist, including its archives, domain name and social media assets. The move comes as part of a larger deal involving two other public radio stations and Gothamist's network of local news sites. KPCC in Pasadena, Calif., will take over LAist, while WAMU in Washington will acquire DCist.

"For more than a decade, Gothamist served as a source of trusted local news," New York Public Radio president and CEO Laura Walker said in a press release. "That resonates with us at WNYC, where we are committed to telling stories rooted in New York and that matter to New Yorkers. As we’ve seen a decline in local journalism in even the largest metropolitan areas across the country, even at a time when it’s so vital, we remain committed to strong, independent reporting that fills the void."

Per Wired, the deal was spearheaded by Gothamist founders Jake Dobkin and Jen Chung, who will start publishing again this spring.

DNAinfo, however, will not be returning. Its archives will live on.

Publisher Joe Ricketts abruptly shut down Gothamist and DNAinfo last Nov. 2.

Find more details in the post at Splinter titled The Many Questions Surrounding the Revival of Gothamist.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Updated: Joe Ricketts just shut down Gothamist and DNAinfo (46 comments)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Updated: Joe Ricketts just shut down Gothamist and DNAinfo


This message now greets visitors to both DNAinfo and Gothamist...

Here's that message from publisher Joe Ricketts:

Dear DNAinfo and Gothamist Readers:
Today, I've made the difficult decision to discontinue publishing DNAinfo and Gothamist. Reaching this decision wasn't easy, and it wasn't one I made lightly.

I started DNAinfo in 2009 at a time when few people were investing in media companies. But I believed an opportunity existed to build a successful company that would report unbiased neighborhood news and information. These were stories that weren't getting told, and because I believe people care deeply about the things that happen where they live and work, I thought we could build a large and loyal audience that advertisers would want to reach.

A lot of what I believed would happen did, but not all of it. Today, DNAinfo and Gothamist deliver news and information each day to over half a million people's email inboxes; we have over 2 million fans across our social channels; and each month, we have over 15 million visits to our sites by over 9 million people. But more important than large numbers of visits and fans, we've reported tens of thousands of stories that have informed, impacted, and inspired millions of people. And in the process, I believe we've left the world a better place.

But DNAinfo is, at the end of the day, a business, and businesses need to be economically successful if they are to endure. And while we made important progress toward building DNAinfo into a successful business, in the end, that progress hasn't been sufficient to support the tremendous effort and expense needed to produce the type of journalism on which the company was founded. I want to thank our readers for their support and loyalty through the years. And I want to thank our employees for their tireless effort and dedication.

I'm hopeful that in time, someone will crack the code on a business that can support exceptional neighborhood storytelling for I believe telling those stories remains essential.


Joe Ricketts
Chief Executive Officer

Ricketts bought Gothamist back in March.

The Times reported that the reporters and editors in the combined newsrooms "celebrated victory in their vote to join a union" just last week.

In total, the closure impacts 115 employees, including reporters, editors, sales staff, among others, in New York as well as in other cities with DNA/-ist outposts. According to the Times: "They are getting three months of paid 'administrative leave' at full salary, plus four weeks of severance."

And reactions...

Updated 8 p.m.:
The following is a statement from the Writers Guild of America, East:

"We are deeply concerned by Joe Ricketts’ decision to shut down DNAinfo New York and Gothamist, along with all their respective local outlets. The New York offices of DNAinfo and Gothamist recently voted to unionize and it is no secret that threats were made to these workers during the organizing drive. The Guild will be looking at all of our potential areas of recourse and we will aggressively pursue our new members rights. We will meet with management in the near future to address all of these issues. We are currently working with the staff at DNAinfo and Gothamist to support them in this difficult time.”

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Think SoHo"

Gothamist has a Q-and-A today with Robert Prichard, who worked the door at the Pyramid in the 1980s before opening Surf Reality’s House Of Urban Savages in 1993. He's getting ready to unveil Queensbridge Theater in Long Island City.

Having been priced out of Manhattan, where do you see the Lower East Side/East Village area in 5 or 10 years from now? Think SoHo. The community board is already telling bars and lounges that are up for Liquor License renewals that they will only give their support if the bar agrees to closing at 1 a.m. Look for more boutiques, national & international chains like Gucci and expensive restaurants.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

NYC on the record(s)

Yesterday, I had a post on revisiting the "Physical Graffiti" cover art 33 years later.

Somehow I've managed to missed the ongoing NYC album art posts at Gothamist. Here, Gothamist proves a little background on how NYC played a prominent role on an album cover...They've covered everyone from Dylan...the New York the Strokes and the Beastie Boys. Good stuff.

[Updated: Alex has video from an MSNBC report on "the death of album cover art.]

Friday, September 5, 2008

"It'd be a great thing to see more opportunity for small businesses to grow again"

Gothamist interviews Steve Cohen, station manager at East Village Radio.

(EVR is throwing a music festival tomorrow at the Seaport...hope the stupid weather holds out...)

Included in the Q-and-A:

Given the opportunity, how would you change New York?

In the old days every neighborhood in New York was uniquely different than the next. Lots of different family businesses that lent a lot of character to the city. It'd be a great thing to see more opportunity for small businesses to grow again. Believe it or not, in the mid 70's, I worked as a busboy and was able to afford an apartment in Manhattan! It's always a good idea to try and feed peoples souls, now that'd be a change.