Bouley support grows at C.B. 1
Community Board 1 may be inching closer to granting celebrity chef David Bouley a recommendation for a liquor license, but a board committee still rejected the application last week.
Last month, when Bouley came before the Tribeca Committee to get a license for his new Japanese restaurant Brushstrokes, at 109-111 W. Broadway, the board rejected his application 6 to 2. Bouley subsequently withdrew the application and returned the Tribeca Committee March 12, with the identical application, and got rejected 6 to 4.
His optimistic lawyer, Warren Pesetsky, sees this as a good sign.
“I believe that the energy was certainly different,” he said after the committee meeting. “It was a vastly split vote. We will be successful at the full board.”
In a marked contrast to February’s meeting, Pesetsky did all the talking last week Bouley attended, but stayed outside. At February’s meeting, Bouley and board member Julie Nadel, his longtime nemesis, got caught up in a verbal sparring match over whether Bouley was a good neighbor.
Pesetsky and tried to refocus the debate on the reason for Bouley’s appearance: his liquor license.
Pesetsky sounded baffled as he recalled coming before the same committee a year earlier for another Bouley application.
“We were in and out in three minutes, with unanimous approval,” Pesetsky told the Tribeca Committee. “This restaurant varies virtually not at all with that application.”
He brought neighbors to vouch for Bouley’s character, and he briefly addressed the charges that Bouley tried to collect insurance for lost business after 9/11, while failing to disclose that he had already received millions from the Red Cross for serving meals to workers.
“That was civil litigation, settled by a payment by the insurance company to Mr. Bouley,” Pesetsky said.
Nadel repeated her list of complaints against Bouley, and Andy Neale, co-chairperson of the Tribeca Committee, added that the black cars idling in front of Bouley’s restaurants cause traffic problems.
“He has a complete lack of respect for people who live in the district,” Neale said. “People are fed up with it.”
The full board meets March 25 to decide the case and then it will go to the State Liquor Authority, which has final say. Bouley will be out of the country for the C.B. 1 meeting.