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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 While not common, community boards have withdrawn support in the past after initially supporting an applicant.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.