Volume 20, Number 43 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | October 20 - 26, 2010
Rowdy bar patrons, newsstands make for lively meeting
BY Michael Mandelkern
Rowdy bar patrons, underage drinking and newsstands were the order of the day at Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee meeting last Wednesday.
Peter Braus, committee chair, aired a litany of community grievances to Charmion Raymond, owner of the Patriot Saloon at 110 Chambers Street, and her attorney. Locals have allegedly witnessed large groups of unruly young adults, some of whom they believe are underage, vomiting and urinating on Tribeca streets.
“This is not conducive to good community relations,” said Braus.
Both Raymond and her attorney denied the allegations. The attorney emphasized that the establishment has not received any formal complaints or been issued any violations. “We can’t do anything about anonymous complaints,” said the attorney.
“I try to run a clean establishment,” said Raymond, adding that she hired a new security staff over the summer that uses a black light to detect fake IDs. To the satisfaction of the Tribeca Committee, Raymond iterated that she lives nearby the bar and could be contacted at any time if an incident were to arise.
A common sentiment among the committee members was that Tribeca is becoming too densely packed with bars. Braus said he is “concerned with public commentary” and was uneasy with Jesse Eidness’, the chief applicant for an as-of-yet unnamed restaurant on One White Street, bid for a liquor license.
Eidness, however, denied that her restaurant would make the neighborhood night scene rowdier.
“I just want a serene atmosphere,” she said, adding that the new restaurant will create 30 to 35 jobs.
The committee criticized the establishment’s close proximity to a mosque on West Broadway. But Frank Delillo, a State Liquor Authority attorney, challenged the extent to which the location qualifies as a mosque.
“You can’t tell there’s one there,” he said, noting that the mosque is in a building not exclusively built for prayer.
The committee ultimately voted 5-3 in favor of the new restaurant’s liquor license and a 4-1 approval from public members once Eidness agreed to tighten closing hours to midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on the weekend.
The next two applicants, both already in operation, received swifter and less contentious approval. The owner of Pelea Mexicana, located at 6 York Street, received a near unanimous vote to add a service bar that patrons could enter via sidewalk mainly to accommodate nearby hotel guests.
Ted Karounos, owner of the Square Diner on 33 Leonard Street, received unanimous approval from the board and its public members to set up an unenclosed sidewalk café.
The meeting became more contentious when discussion moved to newsstand applications. Committee members and attendants repeatedly engaged in side conversations and cell phones rang off. Through the clamor, Aaron Liu, a prospective owner of a newsstand on the southeast corner of Canal Street and Broadway, pleaded his case for the busy location but was interrupted early in his proposal.
“It’s very, very congested,” said Braus. “It’s going to exacerbate a problem we all know already exists…I don’t think this serves any good purpose.”
Most of the committee emphatically agreed with Braus. Many suggested that he choose a location off of Canal Street but Liu firmly declined the compromise.
“This spot [Canal Street] is much better [than any other nearby location],” said Liu.
The board ultimately voted against the newsstand resolution, 5-3. All public members voted against the proposed location.
Mahmud Sapan, a newsstand applicant with his eye on Greenwich and Murray Streets, faced a more supportive board. But Jeffrey Sussman, executive vice president of Edward J. Minskoff Equities, worried that a newsstand could whisk away Barnes & Noble magazine and newspaper sales.
“We want to keep this pristine public space,” said Sussman. He worries that a newsstand could create a “pinch point” for pedestrian traffic throughout the day. “We brought what the community asked for [the retail stores],” added Sussman.
But most members of the committee scoffed at Sussman’s concerns. Peter Glazier, a Tribeca Committee member, pointed out the committee voted against Liu’s plan due to narrow space, “And now we’re turning it down because it’s too big? That doesn’t make much sense,” he said.
Sapan, who was silent throughout the majority of Sussman’s discussion with the board, said he would sell candy, gum, soda, newspapers, magazines and other assorted goods. The board disagreed with Sussman, instead thinking that a newsstand would be convenient and appreciated by residents. They voted in near-unanimous favor of Sapan’s application.