Volume 78 - Number 39 / March 4 -10, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Shows over for precinct cabaret unit
By Albert Amateau and Lincoln Anderson
The Ninth Precinct, which covers the bar-saturated East Village between 14th and Houston Sts., this week lost its cabaret enforcement unit, which has been folded into the regular patrol strength after the precinct received an additional sergeant and 14 additional officers.
The additional personnel will give the precinct commander the flexibility to assign more than the old cabaret unit of one sergeant and three officers to cabaret enforcement, depending on conditions on any given night, said Paul J. Browne, deputy commissioner of public information, in an e-mail reply to an inquiry from The Villager.
Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3, which includes the Ninth Precinct, was uneasy about the change.
C.B. 3 has more bar complaints than any other board in the city, she said, way over 1,000 bar complaints to 311 for the fiscal year, which isnt even over yet. The board district also includes the Seventh Precinct, which has a cabaret enforcement unit, and part of the Fifth Precinct, which has no cabaret unit.
Stetzer noted that the old Ninth Precinct cabaret unit had special hours.
If they work 24/7 they could lose their expertise, she said, referring to the officers who replace the former unit.
Two establishments in the Ninth Precinct are zoned for cabaret use, meaning they allow patron dancing Webster Hall and the Pyramid according to Stetzer, though many places illegally allow dancing. The cabaret unit typically checks premises for underage drinking, overcrowding, serving alcohol without an appropriate license (selling hard liquor when only having a beer-and-wine license) and participates in MARCH or multi-agency operations checking multiple conditions at several bars at a time.
The cabaret unit really focuses on a handful of bad bars, and keeps everyone else on their toes, Stetzer said.
Browne said under the new arrangement, Several supervisors sergeants and lieutenants in the Ninth Precinct not just one sergeant are being trained in cabaret enforcement. There was just one sergeant and one lieutenant in the Ninth Precinct trained in cabaret enforcement. As of March 12, there will be six sergeants and five lieutenants in the Ninth Precinct all trained in cabaret enforcement.