FRIENDS OF THE NORTHSIDE
(Przyjaciele Northside / Amigos de los Nortes)
CALENDAR & NEWS
Our next meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 27th, 2001, at 6:30 p.m., at the People's Firehouse, 113 Berry St., between N. 7th and N. 8th Sts. It will be followed at 7:00 by a meeting with the owners of "The Pod", the bar located next door to Planet Thailand. The meeting will take place on the premises of "The Pod".
For information, call 384 2248 (the office of Neighbors Against Garbage).
News in brief:
NEWSFLASH! As of March 14th, the SLA Commissioners have now disapproved the Sin-e liquor license application.
This follows up on our winning the lawsuit against the SLA, and the 500-foot public hearing which came about as a result of that decision.
You may recall that Judge Paula Omansky 1) vacated the SLA's decision, 2) revoked Sin-e's liquor license, and 3) remanded the decision back to the SLA for full consideration with statutory requirements.
Click on the "About Us" button at left for the Press Release related to this recent decision.
More information on the important topic of the two proposed power plants in our area is available at the following URLs:
Stop the Barge - http://www.StoptheBarge.org
Williamsburg Watch - http://www.wburg.com/stop/
You may also be interested in some of the websites on issues related to affordable housing in the area, such as:
Tenant Net - www.tenant.net
Brooklyn Live/Work Coalition - www.brooklynlivework.org
East Williamsburg Artists' Coalition - www.rumpus.net/ewac/
There has been ongoing press coverage of the SLA lawsuit, as well as the Northside bar saturation issue and related nightlife issues. Some of the articles are available in text form below.
1. "Manhattan Night Life Creeps South, to Mixed Reviews"
New York Times, Sept. 19, 1999
2. "Gov inks new law limiting spread of bars and clubs"
New York Post, Nov. 27, 1999
3. "Community Board #1 Opposes Licenses on Tap at the SLA"
Greenpoint Gazette, May 17-24, 2000
4. "In Williamsburg, a Club Tests Tolerance for the Hip"
New York Times, July 23, 2000
5. "Thoughts on Sin-e"
Free Williamsburg Magazine (online), August, 2000
6. "North Side seeking to cool new hot spots"
New York Daily News, Aug. 4, 2000
7. "Nightclub under fire"
New York Daily News, Oct. 12, 2000
8. "Court Ruling Brings Happy Hour to Foes of a Music Bar"
New York Times, Jan. 14, 2001
From the New York Times, September 19, 1999
Manhattan Night Life Creeps South, to Mixed Reviews
by Julian E. Barnes
Michael Kearney slouched in a metal chair in a school gym, surrounded by people angry over his plan to open a restaurant and bar in the Northside area of Williamsburg.
"The neighborhood is getting better, and they want to stop growth," Mr. Kearney said, gesturing to the 70 or so protesters sitting around him at a community meeting last Wednesday. "But they can't stop it. This place is going to be Manhattan."
The residents fear that Mr. Kearney's proposed new place, Gypsy, at 116 North Fifth Street, and Sin-é (pronounced shi-NAY), a proposed café, bar and concert spot at 142-144 North Eighth Street, will create noise, traffic and parking problems.
Bars in the Northside are expanding quickly, opponents say, with 16 already existing within five blocks of the two proposed places. And the two new ones would open on primarily residential streets, they note.
But both sides agree this fight is really about competing visions for Northside. Supporters of the new establishments, many of them younger and newer to the area than their opponents, say the bars are part of the neighborhood's evolution. Their critics say they want to preserve the livability that has enabled Williamsburg to become one of the city's hip addresses.
"We fought so hard to build up the community," said Cathleen Breen, who organized last week's protest against the bars. "We want to keep it a place people can raise a family."
Both proposed establishments have applied for liquor licenses from the State Liquor Authority. Opponents of Sin-é have gathered 300 signatures against the license, while Sin-é's owner, Shane Doyle, has collected 571 signatures in support.
Mr. Doyle and Mr. Kearney said that neighbors who expect their places to be filled with young people dancing into the early hours have the wrong idea.
"This is not the sort of place you go to cut loose," Mr. Doyle said.
Mr. Kearney said he wants a restaurant where people can drink and listen to jazz. Mr. Doyle said he envisions a 200-seat concert spot to showcase local and touring musicians. Visitors would pay high prices, perhaps more than $100, to see performers like Elvis Costello in an intimate setting.
Mr. Doyle, who said Sin-é would open in November with or without a liquor license, added that the building's five layers of plasterboard and soundboard and one-foot-thick brick walls would contain the sound.
None of that satisfies some of his neighbors. "I moved out here from Manhattan because I wanted the silence," Pio Galvis, a resident, said. "It's a shame to destroy the area."
From the New York Post, November 27, 1999
Gov inks new law limiting spread of bars and clubs
By Fredric U. Dicker
ALBANY - Gov. Pataki signed a new law yesterday designed to crack down on large bars and dance clubs, which can bring mayhem to residential neighborhoods.
The new law requires tighter standards before the State Liquor Authority can issue new "cabaret licenses" for clubs with more than 600 seats and which also feature entertainment.
The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, also expands public and neighborhood input before the SLA grants liquor licenses to any new bar within 500 feet of three or more existing bars and nightclubs.
"New establishments should not be allowed to trash old neighborhoods," said Pataki.
"This bill will ensure that we maintain the beauty of neighborhoods throughout New York, as well as provide community input to new establishments."
State Sen. Roy Goodman (R-Manhattan), who fought for passage of the measure, said the law "will assure that communities are not caught unaware by the granting of beer and wine licenses to establishments in their area.
"It will provide adequate opportunities for comment to the SLA prior to granting of licenses," Goodman continued.
The new law requires the SLA to consider the existing noise levels at the proposed club's location, and whether any increase would be generated, before granting a new license.
The SLA must also consider the effect the proposed club would have on traffic and parking conditions in the area, the history of liquor violations and criminal activity by those involved in the establishment and the number of licensed premises in the vicinity of the proposed club.
The law also requires a 15-day notice to Community Boards before the SLA schedules a hearing to issue a new liquor license for any bar within 500 feet of three or more existing bars or similarly licensed clubs.
A series of reports in The Post earlier this year highlighted the State Liquor Authority's failure to stay on top of the growing problem of poorly monitored dance clubs, and the damage they can do to residential neighborhoods.
From the Greenpoint Gazette, May 17-24, 2000
Community Board No. 1 Opposes License on Tap at the SLA
Chairman Vincent V. Abate, of Brooklyn's Community Board No. 1, announced that the Community Board had fired off several opposition letters regarding Sine at 142-144 North 8th Street to the State Liquor Authority's Chairman Edward F. Kelly, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Assemblyman Robin Schimminger and New York State Inspector General Roslynn R. Mauskopf regarding the process of review for the establishment's liquor license. The written notification to the community and elected officials was not done per directives for the State Liquor Authority's hearings.
Chairman Abate noted in the correspondence that the Agency should be aware that Community Board No. 1 did not support the application. At prior public hearings and public safety committee meetings, members of the community raised opposition to the license and the establishment. The following issues and complaints were stated:
Chairman Abate stated that "it has been noted that the area is becoming over-saturated with a recent proliferation of establishments serving liquor and loud music. Residents and elected officials have been raising opposition to these uses. The full Board voted to oppose the application…" He further explained that "the recent review of Sine's application conducted by the SLA in April was done so in a virtual vacuum devoid of any input from the elected officials and community residents. We oppose the method by which review was carried out and request a complete investigation of the methods used by the State Liquor Authority.
District Manager Gerald A. Esposito discussed the feelings of the residents opposed to the proliferation of licensing. He noted that "we oppose the license on tap atmosphere and we are very concerned about the neighborhood and quality of life. The Community Board will forward its opposition to the wholesale lot approach taken by the State Liquor Authority in granting liquor licenses to applicants." Although the Board's recommendation is one that is in an advisory capacity, District Manager Mr. Esposito felt confident that along with the residents and elected officials, they could press the concerns about these licenses upon the agency and halt the mere purchasing of licenses from the State Agency. In an additional letter to the City's corporation Counsel the Board is seeking legal assistance to pursue the State Liquor Authority and their malfeasance.
For further information regarding this press release, please contact District Manager Gerald A. Esposito at Community Board No. 1, 435 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11211, tel.(718)389-0009.
From the New York Times, July 23, 2000
In Williamsburg, a Club Tests Tolerance for the Hip
By Tara Bahrampour
How hip is too hip? It depends on which Williamsburger you ask.
A local group, citing too many loud bars in the area, is suing the State Liquor Authority after the agency gave a license to Sin-é, a club offering live music that is to open next month at 142-144 North Eighth Street. But Sin-é's owner, who owns a music club on the Lower East Side, says Williamsburg residents invited him.
The group, Friends of the Northside, which has fought the liquor license since last fall, says it was taken by surprise by the April 26 decision, which followed a hearing it says it was not told about in time.
"The community really didn't get the opportunity to voice its opposition," said Barry Mallin, a lawyer.
A spokeswoman for the liquor authority declined to comment.
Construction of the club resumed when the license was granted.
Residents handing out "Make Sin-é Go
Away" fliers recently said they had suffered from the areas' recent popularity and what one called "theme park" development.
"We've had loud, obnoxious, drunken behavior," said Sarah Porter, who lives across the street from the site for Sin-é. "People have had their doors rung in the middle of the night, there's been urinating, car mirrors smashed, new trees being destroyed."
She added that the block in question, between Bedford Avenue and Berry Street, is mostly residential, and that there are eight bars within one block in every direction.
Shane Doyle, Sin-é's owner, said he would not cater to rowdy patrons.
"Most people that pay money to see a gig, they don't get drunk or disorderly," he said, adding that the 4,800-square-foot one-story site is zoned for industrial use.
Mr. Doyle, who owns Arlene Grocery in Manhattan, said many of his performers and patrons were Williamsburg residents who encouraged him to open a club in Brooklyn, and that local residents had signed petitions for him. He said he had offered to make the space available for community groups at no charge.
Wendy Small, a North Eighth Street resident who supports Sin-é, said the influx of artists had made the area more valuable. "Given that they do that, they should also have a place to make their music," she said.
But residents said they would have preferred that the space be used for a doctor's office or a day care center.
"These people who come in from Manhattan, they don't care about the neighborhood,"said Stephen Wiepz, 63, who has lived on North Eighth Street all his life. "They come, they party and they leave."
From the FreeWilliamsburg online magazine, Volume Six, August 2000 (www.freewilliamsburg.com)
Thoughts on Sin-e
by F. Sot Fitzgerald (a.k.a. Kevin Kosar)
My sleepy eyes popped open, my chest tightened.
'What the hell?' I grumbled, pulling myself from my bed to the window. There she was, a dolled-up twenty-something. I had seen her and a few friends wander over to Teddy's Bar and Restaurant an hour or two earlier. She had probably drunk a margarita or two, and now the entire block was suffering for it.
"TEEEEEEEEEEE-NAAA! TEEEEEEEEEEE-NAAA! YO, GIRL, WHERE YOU GOIN?"
Enraged that she was too lazy or drunk to trot down the block to catch up with her friend, I tore open the sash.
"Hey- what are you doing?"
She looked at me in shock.
"Quit yelling. People live here. There are families and children. This is a neighborhood."
She snapped, "Yeah, o.k.," and then returned to looking down the block. "TEEEEEEEEEEE-NAAA!"
That was it, I redlined. "Hey, you idiot, what's wrong with you? How would you like it if I stood outside your home and screamed like a jackass? Cut it out!"
She cocked her hip to one side and delivered. "Yo, what do you want me to do? You wanna come out here and settle this?"
I almost convulsed with laughter. As if she could kick my ass. And for what? "No," I retorted, 'I'd like you to shut up and attempt to behave like a civilized human being instead of a piece of trash coated in Maybelline. Or is that too difficult for you?" I then slammed the sash and pulled the curtains.
Returning to bed I had visions of her tearing the flower boxes from my windows, stomping my sweet gardenias to death. Then I wondered how many of these sorts of crass fools I'd have to deal with when Sine opens in the next month or two. Sine, as you've likely heard, is supposed to be a music venue and bar, with room for almost 300. It's tucked between the homes of a lot of elderly Polish people on N. 8th between Bedford and Berry.
In the past two years the two block stretch of North Eighth between Bedford and Wythe has become louder and more populated. At least a dozen times in the past year I've been awakened by drunken boobs or imbeciles hollering in their cellphones. And the number of times that livery cab drivers have pulled up outside the local bars and then blared their horns is innumerable.
What can be done? I'm tempted to begin hanging signs about the neighborhood that read, "Welcome to Williamburg's Northside, where people live AND SLEEP. Please keep that in mind." And if that doesn't work, perhaps I'll buy a paintball gun and begin popping the idiots from my rooftop.
From the New York Daily News, August 4, 2000
North Side seeking to cool new hot spots
By Bob Liff
Beleaguered people living in Williamsburg's hot and trendy North Side say enough is enough, especially when it comes to noisy nightspots.
The community is seeking legislative help to stop bars and clubs from colonizing residential side streets.
An Assembly subcommittee hearing was held yesterday, sparked by reports that the State Liquor Authority approved a license for a proposed 5,000-square-foot music bar and club. The club, which would accommodate 299 people, is planned for a former silver-plating factory on a N. Eighth St. block where 230 people live.
The agency granted a liquor license in April to Sin-E Enterprises, owned by veteran Manhattan club owner Shane Doyle.
The club would Webcast musical performances around the world. The license application reports the club plans to remain open until 3 a.m.
Sin-E was granted an exemption to the rule barring new liquor licenses for clubs and restaurants within 500 feet of three other licensed premises.
There are as many as eight other licensed premises within 500 feet, including one club planned for another part of the former factory.
The recent boom that transformed Bedford Ave. into a center of nightlife has spread onto Berry St. and side streets.
The agency failed to give a legally mandated 15-day notice to Community Board 1 before okaying the Sin-E license, residents argued in a lawsuit filed to stop the license.
A temporary restraining order has delayed the final license until a hearing slated for next week, when residents and elected officials will seek to kill it.
The agency took the brunt of the criticism at yesterday's hearing.
The hearing, by a subcommittee of the Assembly Economic Development Committee, drew participants from Manhattan and Queens as well as Williamsburg to Public School 132 at Manhattan Ave. and Conselyea St.
Authority officials did not show up, and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D-Buffalo), who heads the subcommittee, said that showed legislators get no more response than residents.
Community leaders from Manhattan's lower East Side, where some blocks have nine and 10 businesses with liquor licenses, and from Queens testified about the agency's lack of enforcement of rules governing existing licenses.
They also complained about its compliance with requirements that it take community views into account when issuing licenses.
"Whose interests are served?" N. Eighth St. block dweller Sharon Porter asked. "Certainly not the community, which stands to lose so much."
Doyle now runs the Arlene's Grocery club on Manhattan's Stanton St. He said he was putting the finishing touches on his Williamsburg club and would be a good neighbor, as he said he has been in clubs he ran on the lower East Side.
"I came to Brooklyn because I was inundated with requests to open a music venue in Brooklyn," said Doyle, who added that many of the musicians who play at his clubs live in Williamsburg.
Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (D-Greenpoint) acknowledged the problem is in large part a result of the North Side's emergence as a center of the music, club and bar scene.
But Lentol said that doesn't mean "predators" looking to take money by opening bars that disrupt the area should get special treatment from the state.
The legislators, including Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Bushwick), said they would look at proposals to create a city liquor authority to replace state oversight. The state has fewer than 20 inspectors to police 28,000 licensed establishments in the city and surrounding suburbs.
Lentol said he also wants to change the law to require community board approval for new liquor licenses. Now the boards have only an advisory role.
Note: For space reasons, the last two articles are available on another page, which you can reach by clicking on "About Us" in the top left section of this site.
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