Volume 73, Number 33 | December 17 - 23, 2003

Community Board 4 votes against adding bars to two problem clubs

By Albert Amateau

Two Chelsea clubs, whose neighbors have endured noise and worse ever since they’ve been open, were turned down this month by Community Board 4, which voted unanimously against recommending their applications to the State Liquor Authority.

Viscaya, which opened in October at 191 Seventh Ave. between 21st and 22nd Sts., applied for a license for an additional bar and an increase in occupancy from 74 to 182. But after hearing a woman whose family lives above the place tell about the devastating effect of the bar’s sound system on her 6-year-old son, the community board voted against a recommendation.

Sessa, a club that re-opened last year in the basement of a high-rise apartment building at 208 W. 23rd St., also applied for a license for an additional bar. But because there have been more than 30 police investigations in the past year, including three felony arrests, one rape, 13 assaults including stabbings and a robbery, the community board asked the S.L.A. to deny the application and to suspend the current license for at least a year.

“We could spend an hour describing how this location has driven people crazy in its various incarnations over the past decade and is driving this generation of people crazy too,” said Cheryl Kupper, co-chairperson of the Business Licenses and Permits Committee, in regard to Sessa.

The successor to a club known as Twirl, Sessa, located in the basement of the Carteret apartment tower, has prompted neighborhood complaints about “noise, litter and filth,” according to the board letter to the S.L.A.

Kupper said that Sessa’s attorney, Terry Flynn, appeared at the November meeting of the Licenses and Permits Committee to say that the owner, Stratis Morfogen, whose father had owned a coffee shop on Eighth Ave. and 23rd St., would try to be a good neighbor.

But the committee said the club owner had disregarded all the stipulations it had made with the community board. “It is abundantly clear that this operator is a scofflaw and this operation presents a real danger to its neighbors, our district and the city,” said the letter. The community board has also called on the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Multi Agency Response to Community Hotspots (MARCH) in its efforts to close the place.

The board’s action on Viscaya was a reversal of a conditional recommendation for approval that the Licenses Committee voted in November. Lien Corey, who lives with her family above the club, told the full board on Dec. 3 that Viscaya’s sound system prevented her son from sleeping and caused him to wet his bed.

Viscaya’s manager, Dimitrios Partridge, told the board that he had spent “a lot of money” trying to soundproof the Corey apartment. But Corey said Viscaya’s sound system penetrated her apartment.

The board’s December letter to the S.L.A. in regard to Viscaya said, “Since the committee meeting in November, the board has received numerous complaints sufficient to warrant a denial of the application.”


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