Monday, May 17, 2010

VICTORY


Tonight's Community Board 3 SLA Committee meeting was possibly historic. The Upper Avenue A residents had such a strong turnout, and Dolores' pink signs made a dramatic impact when 24 people held them up to the astonishment of the room. Even the committee members were taking photos.

But signs are one thing, getting something done is another. And victory was the word of the evening. The northern part of Avenue A has been under siege by an incredible influx of bars, and tonight three more were on the agenda, plus a sidewalk cafe license. The end result, which is often a testament to stamina more than brains, was that nobody got their license approvals tonight, and one of the three bars withdrew their application in the face of so much opposition.

It's a funny thing that I find myself on this side of this argument. I love bars, I love restaurants, I love going out. One of the main reasons to have stayed here all these years is because I love the energy of the East Village. But there has come a moment in the past few years where the tipping point was reached, and the number of bars has outnumbered everything else. Instead of the diverse place I've lived for so long, our little streets have become a mecca of nightlife, a Temple Bar or Bourbon Street zone that is on the verge of being truly unlivable. 19 bars within 500 feet simply have to be enough to choose from.

So a GIANT THANK YOU to everybody that turned out. It was one crazy weekend of petitioning and emailing and running around, but it was well worth it. A special thanks to those who stayed until after 11:00 who didn't get to speak their turn (Susan that's you), the numbers that showed up proved that you don't fuck with 12th Street.

12 comments:

EV Grieve said...

Wow, sounds like an impressive turnout. I wish that I could have been there. Did you take any photos?

Larry Slade said...

Congratulations. There are enough drug dealers, and their noisy clients, on that block.

Jill said...

I was sitting in the back so I didn't have the opportunity to take photos. I am certain that there will be some posted shortly on other blogs, as everybody was taking photos including members of the committee.

One thing I didn't talk about in my post because I need to think about it a little more is that the committee showed they are rethinking their position on transfer licenses. It's a small shift, but they are starting to test the waters. For me personally that was a huge accomplishment.

And Grieve, you deserve a huge congratulations. Having the most read blog in the 'hood has made a real impact on making people think deeply about what kind of place they want to live in. It has given voice to a population that know they aren't alone or crazy in what they think has happened to the EV. You are beloved.

Shawn Chittle said...

I am so proud of my neighbors and the Avenue A/LES community. Just bursting with pride. It's like 1988 all over again, er, well not really but close enough.

As a long-time resident of North Avenue A, I was beside myself with anger when I saw "Destination" and "Superdive" open.

I live above Westville and get along with the owners quite well, however Saturday night I lost it when 6 patrons sat campfire-style in front of my door. Imagine this - they blockaded the door so I could not EXIT MY OWN BUILDING.

I don't blame Westville as much as I blame people who have no !@#$ idea how to act when they are in the city. Move the !@#$ out of the way or go find another restaurant. It's just food for crying out loud.

Sounds like CB3 is gettin' the picture. Few down, few more to go, see you at the next CB3.

Anonymous said...

Jill, did El Camion get approval for the transfer, and what about the bar/restaurant that wants to take over Mundial's old space? Thanks for leading the charge and all of the info!

Jill said...

The Community Board's SLA committee voted to deny approving the license application for both El Camion and Percy's. El Camion was applying for the ex-Raven space and Percy's in the current Al Diwan space on 13th.

What this means is that the Community Board sends a recommendation to the state SLA licensing bureau, and does not necessarily mean they won't get their license approved by the state. The lawyer made some remarks about buying the Raven's corporation and getting the license that way.

We'll write a letter to the State along with copies of our petitions and watch for it to come up in a 500 foot rule hearing and have an opportunity to appear there too, if it gets that far.

The Mundial transfer application was withdrawn by the prospective owners to avoid an actual vote on denying, and also because it was pointed out that the backyard is likely illegal which makes that space much less desirable. They may come back next month with a new proposal but honestly, these guys are bar owners and I don't think opening an actual restaurant, which would likely be approved, is in their life/career goals.

Goggla said...

Hurrah, I'm glad to hear there's still some sanity out there. Things were feeling quite hopeless for a while. I'm with you, Jill - I love going out, too, but that stretch of A (and a few other areas) have become so out of control, it's anything but enjoyable. This is one step in the right direction.

Bowery Boogie said...

awesome! the "avenue A army" has won a decisive battle.

Billy said...

I'm with you on being torn. I too enjoy a drink or four at a neighborhood bar more than I probably should and more often than I care to admit. But walking down Avenue A last Saturday night for the first time in awhile (I've become of those guys who feels to Brooklyn on weekends) was a horror show of stretch limos and the braying bachelor(ette) parties contained within.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, Jill. I am so proud of all of my neighbors. Like you, I enjoy going out and live in the East Village because of the variety of bars and restaurants, but the situation has gotten out of hand. I never thought 12th Street would be loud, but it sure is now.

I am happy for the residents of 505 East 12th Street because they would be in hell again if another bar opened in that space.

I wonder if the newbies who lives in the building over the old Raven were in on the fight against El Camion. It would not be fun to live over a bar on that corner...

Jeremiah Moss said...

congratulations on a victory well fought! i hope this inspires folks all over the neighborhood to fight back against the culture of obnoxious overcrowding.

Tod said...

Big ups to the 12th and 13th st crew. The revolution is in full effect.

I'm always impressed by how well you guys mobilize. I live on A; and though I got everyone in the building to sign a petition, it was just me and another representing us, last night (and my neighbor bailed before our number came up). I loved everything everyone said. It was all spot on. Let's keep standing up for each other and fight these dork-bars till they GTFO!