Spring Studios apologizes to Tribeca for late night event

BY ZACH WILLIAMS  |  Spring Studios representatives apologized to Tribeca residents last week for a post-Super Bowl bash that aroused the ire of neighbors.

The Feb. 3 event simply got out of control and efforts are underway to avoid such disturbances in the future, according to a consultant for the venue, Bradford Gonzalez-Sussman. Bright lights and loud music from the venue that night have local residents concerned,however, that their newest neighbor will bring raucous crowds of celebrity elite and snarled traffic in addition to Fashion Week festivities.

Members of  Community Board 1’s Tribeca Commitee meanwhile considered on Feb. 12 withdrawing their initial support of the studio’s application for a state liquor license amid accusations that Spring Studios cannot be fully trusted to adhere to a 2013 agreement stipulating the hours and manner in which events can be held at 50 Varick St. The committee decided to wait before taking that action.

Support from a local community board is an early and important element of the license-granting process, according to Bill Crowley, a spokesperson for the State Liquor Authority. While not common, community boards have withdrawn support in the past after initially supporting an applicant.

“We do place substantial weight on their recommendation,” he said.

Authority records state that no application has yet been filed for a license at 50 Varick St.

Sussman said in an email that managing relations with neighboring residents is an ongoing process for the venue.

“We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience to our neighbors as a result of the event immediately following the Super Bowl.” Sussman said in a prepared statement Feb. 18th. “This was a one-time event held during an unprecedented week of activities throughout the metropolitan area with New York hosting the Super Bowl. Our contract for the event had it scheduled to end at an appropriate time under our stipulations, unfortunately the primary performer arrived at the venue late and the event went over time by approximately an hour. We are reviewing our internal policies so this does not occur in the future.”

A post on www.nasirjones.com, a website detailing the life and work of the rapper “Nas,” offered a more colorful account of the event held in honor of Hennessy’s “Never Stop. Never Settle” ad campaign.

“Jay Z and Beyonce, Tyson Beckford, Estelle, Luke James, and more were seen on the red carpet and partying throughout the night. Guests danced and chilled out to the sounds of DJ White Shadow and Mark Ronson, while being served Nas’ signature drink,” the post stated.

The rapper and singer Kelly Rowland performed early in the morning amidst a colorful display of lights and a packed dance floor.

Posts made to the social media sites Twitter and Instagram from the event continued until about 2 a.m. on Feb. 3. A similarly star-studded group attended a Calvin Klein party at the venue on Sept. 13, garnering more than 20,000 likes on Facebook.

C.B. 1 approved a resolution in April 2013 in support of Spring Studios’ liquor application. An agreement between the venue, neighbors and the board stipulated that events must control light, sound, alcohol service and end before midnight, among other stipulations aimed at mitigating disturbances to residents. Live music performances were not among the 12 types of events indicated by Spring Studios as being intended for the venue. The word “party” is not mentioned within the 10-page agreement.

The ongoing friction between Spring Studios and the local community erupted at the Feb. 12 committee meeting.  Peter Braus, committee chairperson, said the Super Bowl party demonstrates a lack of good faith.

“You knew what the rules were and you flagrantly violated them,” Braus said to the attorney during the meeting.

A week before the apology, Sussman maintained at the meeting that he notified committee member Jeff Ehrlich before the event, an assertion with which Ehrlich disagreed.

While Spring Studios has emphasized that 50 Varick St. is primarily intended for fashion-related activities, Tribeca residents remain apprehensive. Paul Barenholtz, who lives near the venue, said while light and noise from ongoing construction at the site has become less disturbing, he remains pessimistic regarding his main concern.

“I think this will be a party space and we will have a repetition of this type of conduct.” he said.

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One Response to Spring Studios apologizes to Tribeca for late night event

  1. Bradford J. G-S

    To the Editor,

    We at Spring Studios sincerely regret that the post-Super Bowl event went over time. It was unintended, we apologize for it and it will not happen again.
    However, we are troubled by the tone and characterizations in your coverage of the event in your February 27, 2014 issue. Specifically:
    •Spring Studios notified Community Board 1 staff in advance of all of their events.
    •This event, as planned, was permissible under the terms of the stipulations.
    We at Spring Studios have been in the process of a soft opening as a result of construction delays and an extended Community Board approval process. We believe we have been forthright and open with the Community Board and our neighbors and have worked diligently to address concerns as is evidenced by the agreed to stipulations. Those stipulations and license were approved by the full board unanimously. Many of the stipulations cannot, and were never intended to be implemented until construction has been completed and the liquor license is in effect.
    Nevertheless, we have endeavored to adhere to every stipulation as soon as physically possible. For example, as soon as construction was sufficiently completed on Varick Street, all invited guests to Spring's programming have entered the building through the Varick Street entrance. Also, in accordance with the stipulations, our community cleaning crew is already working in the neighborhood picking up litter.
    We continue to work towards our community service goals by meeting with the Chinese-American Planning Council to implement a youth internship program; to meet with Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Jewish Community Project to consider the possibility of hosting cultural events and high holiday services respectively. There will be no more programming during this soft opening so all future events at Spring will occur in the context of a fully constructed property with all stipulations fully implemented.
    Spring is a full service advertising agency that uses its multipurpose photography/film studio spaces to host its clients’ commercial events e.g. product launches. Spring believes in the philosophy of “doing good to do well” and has entered into an extensive agreement to provide support for the community as part of their licensed activities. Also, Spring is currently employing dozens of local artists and photographers, is participating in a program to employ developmentally disabled individuals for their neighborhood cleaning crew, is making an effort to source products from women and minority owned businesses and, when construction is complete, will employ over 300 people at well-paying jobs. We believe that Spring's philosophy as well as the stipulations that we agreed to provide a framework for community engagement and mitigation that will serve to create an extremely positive and mutually beneficial relationship between Spring and the entire downtown community.

    Bradford J. Gonzalez-Sussman on behalf of Spring Studios

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