A couple of troubled establishments on Avenue A have closed, and it’s uncertain whether they’ll reopen. A sign on the window of Diablo Royale Este indicates the Mexican spot is closed “until further notice” and redirects patrons to the West Village original. And a reader uses our Virtual Assignment Desk to express concern about Bar on A, also between 10th and 11th Streets: “The last couple times I’ve walked by it’s been closed,” writes the tipster. The bar’s outgoing phone message indicates, without explanation, that it is indeed “temporarily closed.”
Both businesses had a troubled history. Bar on A’s owner, Bob Scarrano, died in 2010 after surgery to address esophageal cancer, and his widow fell behind on the rent, according to an associate of the bar who spoke to The Local in May. That associate said at the time that an upstairs neighbor had called 311 numerous times in an attempt to shut down the bar. The neighbor said she was only trying to resolve “excessive noise” issues. In July, EV Grieve noticed a listing indicating that bar’s space was on the market.
Diablo Royale’s headaches were similar: during an acrimonious community board meeting last November, neighbors who had been complaining of noise since 2010 accused the restaurant of “contributing to turning Avenue A into a booze-filled entertainment zone.” Read more…
Illustration: Lauren Carol Smith
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There’s been much ado about chain stores lately: last month, anarchists targeted a new 7-Eleven; earlier this week, Community Board 3 continued its discussion on retail diversity; and now a petition calls for a halt to the perceived chain invasion in the East Village. But just how many chains are in the neighborhood, anyway? The Local pounded the pavement to find out.
The petition claims that “zip code 10003, which we all know as the East Village, now has the most national retail stores of any zip code in NYC (except for one that has a huge shopping mall).” Not exactly true: a recent study by the Center for an Urban Future found 169 chain retailers in the zip code, actually the third-most in the city. Since the 10003 zip includes parts of the Flatiron District and Gramercy (and only part of the East Village), the question remains: how much of the East Village do chain stores own?
Here’s what we found: if one were to place every national chain store, bank, restaurant, and movie theater in the East Village side-by-side, they would span 16 city blocks, and that’s with stores on both sides of the street. Read more…
Natalie Rinn Susan Stetzer points at documents as S.L.A.
committee chair Alexandra Militano leafs through them.
Before finalizing a controversial set of stipulations that would ease Community Board 3’s stance against new beer-and-wine licenses in nightlife-heavy areas – so long as applicants agree to close shop early – a task force decided last night to seek counsel from a higher power: the State Liquor Authority.
During a meeting at C.B. 3’s offices last night, District Manager Susan Stetzer said that the board should repair a feeling that it is particularly unbending, shared by applicants and the S.L.A. alike. “We have become infamous,” she said, explaining that applicants’ lawyers approach the S.L.A. and say, “C.B. 3 has a moratorium [on new licenses in resolutions areas], and it’s illegal” – a sentiment with which S.L.A. chair Dennis Rosen agrees, according to Ms. Stetzer. “We are losing respect and clout,” she said. Read more…
Stephen Rex Brown Angelica Kitchen at 300 East 12th Street.
Officers from the Ninth Precinct ordered the staff of the popular vegan restaurant, Angelica Kitchen, to stop allowing customers to bring their own bottles — but it’s not clear why.
The owner of the eatery, Leslie McEachern, said that the officers told a manager on Friday night to cease-and-desist B.Y.O.B. service, citing a complaint from Community Board 3. But the district manager of Community Board 3, Susan Stetzer, said she had never heard a complaint about the restaurant on 12th Street near Second Avenue since she took her job in 2004.
“I have no idea why they came, really,” said Ms. McEachern. “For now, we’re just complying with the order.” Read more…
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.
Stephen Rex Brown
September’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.
Liquor licensing is the hot topic in the East Village, with some residents railing against the noise and violence that they say booze brings.
But cafe owners looking to put alcohol on their menus to make money said that applying for a license is a head-spinning process that often ends with them being painted as villains.
Take the Case of Table 12, the 24-hour diner on Avenue A and East 12th Street. On Sept. 20, the liquor authority committee for CB3, which represents the East Village, refused to recommend Table 12’s application to the State Liquor Authority to sell beer and wine. On Sept. 28, the full board upheld the committee’s decisions on a number of East Village liquor license applicants, including the denial of Table 12.
A brother of Table 12’s owner, who identified himself only as Tarik, said that the diner’s license application was submitted to help give patrons a “better dining experience” and also for the profit potential.
“It’s why the place is open for business,” he said. “A cafe is not open for non-profit.”