Volume 75, Number 37 | February 1 - 7, 2006

Neighbors of club are feeling the Love, too much

By Albert Amateau

“All you need is love,” sang the Beatles 40 years ago, but neighbors of Love, a club in the basement level of 179 MacDougal St. near the corner of W. Eighth St. in the Village, want less Love and more sleep.

Music played at ear-splitting volume, with a penetrating bass, has been keeping residents awake, sometimes as late as 5:30 a.m. since the summer.

Frequent complaints by residents to the Sixth Police Precinct since August have resulted in numerous violations issued to the managers of the club, but the noise continues.

“We gave them 18 summonses in 2005,” said Detective Mike Singer, community affairs officer of the Sixth Precinct. “Most of them were for noise, but the Health Department issued four violations and the Department of Buildings issued one. Consumer Affairs cited them for operating without a cabaret license and for employing unlicensed security guards,” Singer said.

In October, the club was the target of a MARCH enforcement effort [Multiple Agency Response to Club Hazards], Singer recalled. “They were also cited for employment of a felon. The cabaret law prohibits anyone convicted of a felony to work in a club,” Singer explained.

Neighbors said that when police respond to complaints, the music volume sometimes goes down for a while, but the sound picks up again, especially the relentless boom-boom-boom of the bass. Repeated summonses and fines have had little effect.

“We arrested one of the managers on a warrant and locked him up for a night at the end of December for failure to make a court date,” Singer said.

Steve Weber, owner of the club, which has another entrance at 40 W. Eighth St. around the corner from 179 MacDougal St., told The Villager that he has spent a fortune soundproofing the basement club and wants to be a good neighbor.

Neighbors agree that Weber has been cordial and polite in person, but they insist that the noise level has continued to keep them awake until the early hours. One resident said last week that the high noise volume starts at various times, as early as 8 p.m. and sometimes continues into the daylight hours of the morning. A resident of a building across MacDougal St. at the corner of W. Eighth St. said the bass penetrates to his apartment.

Nevertheless, Weber recently offered some hope that relations with his neighbors might improve. He agreed to meet on Jan. 24 with Sixth Precinct police and with members of City Councilmember Christine Quinn’s staff.

Quinn said in a prepared statement, “The owner of the Love Club approached my office, wanting to work with the Sixth Precinct to become a better neighbor and to improve his working relationship with the community. The precinct does excellent outreach along these lines, so we happily obliged setting up that meeting. I am hopeful the meeting will help clarify what the outstanding issues are and how they can be addressed.”

However, neighbors said on Tues. Jan. 31 that on Sat. Jan. 28, the crowd outside was raucous and the bass sound continued.

Sumner Radler, property manger for A. J. Clarke, the real estate firm that owns the building and adjacent properties, said the basement has been occupied by clubs for the past several years and there have been no complaints. He said he had received a complaint about noise from the club from only one resident but he promised to look into the situation.

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