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Beer and Wine For Jane’s Sweet Buns

Stephen Rex Brown Board Member Alexandra Militano discussed October’s applications for liquor licenses.

Community Board 3 approved Jane’s Sweet Buns application for a beer and wine license last night, paving the way for the bakery to pair alcohol with its desserts.

“Literally 75 percent of our clientele that comes in after 8 p.m. wants to have a glass of wine with their sweet bun or tart,” said Ravi DeRossi, the owner of the business on St. Marks Place between First Avenue and Avenue A. “Wine and dessert go so well together.”

The business was met with skepticism by some members of Community Board 3, however.

“I hear we’re all dying to receive this: A bakery that sells booze,” joked board member Joyce Ravitz.
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Regarding Wine and Beer Licenses, C.B. 3’s Rulings Have Little Sway Over S.L.A.


Late last month, Community Board 3 left supporters of Heathers stunned by voting nearly unanimously to recommend a denial of the bar’s liquor license renewal. But was the whole process a waste of time? Two weeks later, the State Liquor Authority — the true arbiter of the fate of businesses that sell booze — renewed the bar’s license with little fanfare, raising doubts about whether it had heeded the board at all.

Just how much stock does the S.L.A put in the community board’s recommendations, anyway? For all the blogosphere’s feverish coverage of dramatic and often-controversial community board rulings, the question is rarely addressed. To answer it, The Local combed through a year’s worth of liquor authority license applications going up to Feb. 2011 (we ignored applications after that date, since many of them are still under review). In that year, we found that the State Liquor Authority consistently granted licenses to bars and restaurants that Community Board 3 had recommended for denial.

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After A Change In Policy, Community Board 3 Wonders Where It Will Meet

IMG_2862Stephen Rex BrownSeptember’s Community Board 3 meeting was an overcrowded “disaster,” according to District Manager Susan Stetzer.

Community Board 3 general board meetings — known throughout the neighborhood for heated debates that go on at least four hours — just got a lot more uncomfortable.

Last month, the Department of Education stopped allowing the board to use its facilities for free, leaving District Manager Susan Stetzer searching for a space that can accommodate the scores of people that attend the monthly meetings.

The consequences of the Department of Education’s new policy was on full display on Tuesday at a standing-room-only general board meeting at the Ukrainian Museum. People had come out in droves in regards to Heathers Bar and Basketball City on Pier 36 in the Lower East Side, leaving the roughly 100 attendees flooding into the stairwell and lobby. Other people in the audience leaned in between historic Ukrainian paintings while struggling to hear the goings-on at the other end of the art gallery-turned-meeting space.
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At Full Board Meeting, CB3 Votes Against Heathers

heathersNick DeSantis

Members of Community Board 3 just voted overwhelmingly to recommend a denial of Heathers’ application to renew its liquor license, heeding the complaints of residents who earlier told the board’s SLA committee that the bar is a noisy nuisance. Supporters of the bar — mostly employees and customers — were left dumbstruck as only one member of the board voted in favor of the 13th street watering hole. Heathers’ ultimate fate will be decided by the State Liquor Authority at a later date.

CB3 Committee Recommends That Heathers Bar Go Dry

heathersNick DeSantis

Before André Balazs and his Cooper Square Hotel associates breezed through Community Board 3’s SLA Licensing Committee meeting last night, the committee members heard vocal complaints from neighbors about Heathers Bar on East 13th Street. Members of the East 13th Street Residents’ Association accused Heathers of repeatedly violating numerous stipulations of its Sept. 2009 liquor license renewal.

After a long debate, the committee voted to recommend a denial of the bar’s application to renew its license. Read more…

Balazs Gets Nod for Liquor Transfer at Cooper Square Hotel

balazsNick DeSantis

Famed hotelier André Balazs was rewarded for his cameo at Community Board 3’s SLA Committee meeting last night, as the group voted unanimously to support his application to transfer the Cooper Square Hotel’s liquor license to his name.

Mr. Balazs’s high-profile establishments – the Mercer Hotel in Soho and the Standard in the meatpacking district – are magnets for celebrities. His Cooper Square Hotel takeover raised questions that the party atmosphere of the Boom Boom Room (his nightclub in the Standard) could soon migrate to the East Village. But Mr. Balazs ameliorated those fears by addressing residents directly. Read more…

St. Mark’s Bookshop Pushes Cooper Union For Lower Rent

IMG_0008Khristopher J. Brooks St. Mark’s Bookshop at 31 Third Avenue.

The co-owners of one of the neighborhood’s most popular bookstores pleaded to members of Community Board 3 last night for help as they struggle to stay in business.

The causes of the St. Mark’s Bookshop’s financial woes (a book industry in free-fall amid the rise of e-readers and online retailers) have been well documented. Things became so dire that the owners even posted an ominous note in the store entrance, saying “Find it here, buy it here, keep us here.”

Now, the store’s owners are pressing their landlord, Cooper Union, to reduce the $20,000-per-month rent for the space in the base of the dormitory building at Third Avenue and Stuyvesant Street. Read more…

At Sutra, CB 3’s Ariel Palitz Passes the Mic to Hip-Hop Pioneers

ariel palitz and DMCCyn Darling Ariel Palitz with Darryl McDaniels from Run DMC.

Ariel Palitz, the owner of Sutra Lounge and a member of Community Board 3, chatted with The Local about misconceptions about hip-hop, honoring the legends, and the return of CB 3 meetings. This evening Sutra will host a “Strictly Old School” hip-hop extravaganza featuring the Cold Crush Brothers and Grand Wizzard Theodore on the turntables.


So what’s going down tonight at Sutra?


It’s “Strictly Old School” — a new series we do once or twice a month. We decided to get the old school emcees into the DJ booth. Darryl McDaniels from RUN DMC was here – that blew everybody away. He did like five Run DMC hits. It’s such a tight community that other artists show up. Kangol from UTFO came up and sang “Roxanne Roxanne.” Slick Rick was here. Melle Mel got on the mic. Read more…

Two Historic Districts Approved

Community Board 3 tonight approved the creation of two historic districts in the East Village, paving the way for official consideration by the city. The proposal was divided into two separate motions with a 23 to 9 vote in favor of the Second Avenue district and unanimous support for the Tenth Street district. Preservationists reiterated that the measures were the only way to protect the neighborhood from what they consider excessive development while opponents from the religious community, some of whom walked out of the meeting in protest, countered that they could not bear the financial burden of renovations under the landmarking requirements.
Laura E. Lee and Stephen Rex Brown

Historic District Dispute Heats Up

Landmarks SubcommitteeStephen Rex Brown The subcommittee at tonight’s meeting.

The divide between preservationists and the opponents of a proposed historic district in the neighborhood was on full display Thursday night, as critics of the plan derided a proposed landmark district as an insult to some area institutions.

Supporters of the planned district, covering 330 buildings near Second Avenue and one block of Tompkins Square Park, countered that it would protect the East Village from development and preserve the architectural features of the neighborhood for future generations.

Opponents of the plan, led by representatives from three houses of worship — Congregation Meseritz Syngg, the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection and St. Stanislaus Church — questioned whether the district would place an undue burden on them by requiring that they pay for the increased maintenance and upkeep of their buildings.

By the end of the two-hour meeting of Community Board 3’s landmarks subcommittee at 41 Cooper Square it was clear that the debate is far from over.
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On 2nd St., A Dispute Over a Garden

Teri Hagan, Peach Tree community garden 3Chelsia Rose Marcius Teri Hagen says that she is being unfairly denied access to the Peach Tree Community Garden on East Second Street. Those who manage the memberships at the garden deny any wrongdoing.

At the entrance of the Peach Tree Community Garden on Second Street between Avenues B and C stands a small, decorative sign bearing a one-word message: “Welcome” — seven letters that most take as a friendly invitation to enter.

But some residents say they’ve been locked out of this urban green space for at least nine months, and after voicing multiple complaints to Green Thumb, Community Board 3 and City Council District 2, one says she’s fed up with feeling overlooked.

“We have a right to be here, this is a community and everyone has to have a say,” said Teri Hagan, 75, who lives on East Second Street just across the street from the garden.
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Board Weighs In On Sentencing

Community Board 3 passed a resolution Tuesday night condemning the actions of the two former Ninth Precinct police officers who were convicted of official misconduct in May. The former officers, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin L. Mata, were acquitted of all other charges from the 2008 incident in which a woman said that she was raped by the officers after they helped her to her East Village home. The resolution calls on the sentencing judge to impose the harshest possible punishment on each of the men — two years in prison.
Laura E. Lee

The Day | A Time to Cool Off

blowing bubbles under the cube, Astor PlaceMichelle Rick

Good morning, East Village.

It’s going to be hot outside today, so if you get too warm just know that all Manhattan public pools have opened. Yes, that means, in about an hour, you can go jump in that pool at Tompkins Square Park. Or, if that’s too crowded, try the Dry Dock Playground and Pool on East 10th Street. Remember though, the pools are open from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and they do a daily pool cleaning between 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

If you shop regularly at the Super Saving Store on 14th Street and Third Avenue, it’s time to make your final selections. Our friends over at EV Grieve report that the store is closing soon. The store is known for selling groceries, health care products, school supplies and clothing all under one roof.

Speaking of roofs, there’s a new historic landmark just south of our neighborhood — the Hardenbrook-Somarindyck House located at 135 Bowery. DNAinfo reports that the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the house and two other buildings during its meeting on Tuesday. The commission also voted to schedule a public hearing for two East Village historic districts: a 300-building stretch from East Second and East Seventh Streets between First Avenue and the Bowery and 26 buildings along East 10th Street between Avenues A and B, DNAinfo says.

Oh, and just in case you missed it, Community Board 3 denied a liquor license to a new music spot at 34 Avenue A. The music spot, already labeled Piney Woods, is a project by music curator Todd Patrick and longtime East Villager Phil Hartman.

Liquor License Denied for 34 Ave. A

The liquor license application for a new music venue at 34 Avenue A was denied by a Community Board 3 vote tonight. Tensions ran high as board members heard from the public on both sides of the issue, which was referred to the full board by the licensing committee. The 28-7 vote puts the future of the proposed site, a project by music curator Todd Patrick and longtime East Village proprietor Phil Hartman, on hold. — Laura E. Lee

Conversation | On 34 Avenue A

photo.JPGTodd Olmstead The doorway of 34 Avenue A.

I felt very young last week, sitting at the Community Board 3 meeting at 200 East Fifth Street. Being 21 years old, there were surely other attendees my age, or younger. But I could not beat the feeling that our voices and spirits were being silenced. I say this mostly because, as the Community Board again refused to support the application for a new experimental music venue at 34 Avenue A (formerly Mo Pitkins), a project of the music promoter Todd Patrick and Two Boots owner Phil Hartman, I felt like one of the few attendees who genuinely understood the cultural significance of what their proposed space, The Piney Woods, could be.

Imagine my surprise yesterday afternoon, when, flicking through Gmail on my iPhone, I found a response from Richard Hell, musician, punk innovator, East Village resident,and one of the most influential musical figures to come out of the neighborhood, in support of the application. The board is scheduled to consider it again at its meeting tonight.

“The Lower East Side needs a specialized, non-pop music room for musicians who are in it for other things than head-banging or making it big,” Mr. Hell told me. “Headbanging and raw ambition are fine, but there are plenty of venues for that already, and the Lower East Side would do well to maintain or recover its tradition of cutting edge art.”
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Branches, Leaves and Quite a Fuss

DSC_0556Ian Duncan Two bloodgood plane trees in front of the Village East apartments on Avenue C have been cited as a danger by residents.

There they are. The pair of them, standing on Avenue C as plain as day, unaware of the trouble they’ve been causing.

They being, not two juvenile delinquents, but twin bloodgood plane trees that recently arrived unannounced on the sidewalk in front of the Village East co-op.

The issue of arboreal interlopers blew up at a Community Board 3 parks committee meeting on June 16. Anne Johnson, a board member and resident at Village East, said it was unfair of the parks department, acting with the Lower East Side Ecology Center, to plant trees without consulting residents.

“We want them placed somewhere else,” Ms. Johnson said at the meeting. “They are a danger,” she added, arguing that they present an obstacle to wheel chair users.

Currently the trees are bounded by bright yellow tape stamped with the word “caution.”

In an e-mail message, Ms. Johnson emphasized that residents were displeased by the placement of the trees and others approached by The Local last week seemed similarly miffed. Village East has its own active buildings and grounds committee and Ms. Johnson cited one resident’s concerns that the trees will distract observers from Village East’s existing planters.
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Liquor Panel Deadlocks on 34 Ave. A

IMG_0030Laura E. Lee Board members at a recent meeting.

After a contentious two-hour discussion in front of more than 100 people, the licensing committee of Community Board 3 took no action regarding a liquor license for Piney Woods, a proposed venue at 34 Avenue A. No majority emerged during three votes on potential resolutions so the committee turned the matter over to be considered by the full board.

The venue is the work of Todd Patrick, an indie music organizer commonly known as Todd P., and Phil Hartman, Two Boots Pizza owner. Mr. Hartman also owned Mo Pitkins, a venue at the same address that closed in 2007. The space ultimately became the bar Aces & Eights in 2009.

Tensions ran high among the crowd gathered for the meeting at the Green Residence on East Fifth Street. At one point, chatter from audience members prompted Alexandra Militano, committee chair, to scold the spectators for “heckling” when opposing viewpoints were presented.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Patrick said the space would bring back some of the neighborhood’s musical and cultural history lost to gentrification.

“We are looking to be a place that harkens back to what brought us all to this neighborhood in the first place, which is the quality artistic legacy of this community,” he said.
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Plan Would Add More M15 Stops

Earlier this year, we told you about the frustrations some M15 riders share regarding local bus service. In response to rider complaints, Community Board 3 tonight voted to file a joint resolution requesting that New York City Transit and the Department of Transportation consider relocating Select Bus Service stops so they are adjacent to or combined with local stops. Board members hope that riders will have quick and easy access to both local and Select Bus Service.
Chelsia Rose Marcius

Liquor License Transfer Rules Clarified

IMG_0030Laura E. Lee Participants at tonight’s meeting.

The State Liquor Authority Task Force of Community Board 3 approved a resolution tonight that clarifies the terms under which liquor licenses can be transferred when bars and restaurants are sold in the East Village.

The action, which will go to a vote of the full board at its next meeting, allows for “grandfathering” — a process in which the buyer of a business is allowed to assume the license owned by the seller, provided that the business had its license prior to June 28 and other criteria are met.

Before tonight’s meeting, it was unclear how policy changes enacted by the full community board in February would affect applicants who requested a “grandfathered” transfer.

The “grandfathering” provision is not used by other community boards, according to Susan Stetzer, the district manager of Community Board 3. But Community Board 3 allows businesses to apply as transfers, provided they meet other criteria like being deemed responsible business owners — a status evaluated by a review of liquor authority reports, police violations and complaints to the 311 city services information hotline.
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Residents Laud Historic District Plan

Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting May 12Grace Maalouf Kate Daly, executive director of New York’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, speaks earlier tonight at an informational meeting about two new proposed historic districts in the East Village.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission presented its plans tonight for creating a historic district in the neighborhood and heard from several community groups who voiced their support for the measure and also suggested extending the districts.

The presentation, which occurred during an informational meeting at the BRC Senior Services Center hosted by Community Board 3, is one of the first in a series of steps that would mean property owners in the designated areas would need commission approval before making changes to their buildings.

Kate Daly, executive director of the commission, said she has been meeting and will continue to meet with individual property owners whose buildings will fall into the designated districts, and stressed that Thursday’s meeting was merely to “get the word out to the larger community.”

She added that the commission is “very eager to move forward” in the designation process, and that the two historic districts proposed are just the beginning for the Lower East Side.
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