Volume 74, Number 23 | Octuber 6 - 12 , 2004

Two out of three ain’t bad; C.B. 2 nixes some clubs

By Lincoln Anderson

As is often the case, bars and nightclubs — specifically, the granting of liquor licenses — were the hot topic at Community Board 2’s Sept. 23 meeting.

The Greenwich Village board voted to recommend denial for a liquor license for a new nightclub, doing business under the name D & C Nightlife, Inc., at 250 Hudson St. in Hudson Sq. and also for a new club, Lola, in Soho at 15 Watts St., where the notorious Chaos club was once located. However, the board voted to approve a franchise of Buddha Bar on W. 13th St. in the Meat Market.

About 40 Soho residents turned out to oppose Lola at 15 Watts St., arguing that the neighborhood is already oversaturated with liquor-licensed premises.

A member of the Lola group tried to impress on Board 2 and the audience that “we’re not bad people….”

“It’s not bad people!” interjected Steve Ben Israel. “We’re full!” Ben Israel lives above Café Noir and has had problems with its noise.

Leading the opposition against the new nightclub at 250 Hudson St. was David Reck, a Board 2 member and president of Friends of Hudson Sq.

Peter Howard, real estate broker for 250 Hudson St., said the building has printing companies inside and so has very good sound muffling. Ooana Trien, a consultant for the club group, assured they wouldn’t be like NV on Spring St., an establishment that has been a point of concern in the neighborhood.
“We are a different space than all that have come before us,” Trien said. “We want the chance to be a good neighbor.” Trien said the club would draw gay and “gay friendly” clientele, which she described as a crowd known for “almost complete absence of violence, and with an innate sense of community.” She added that 80 percent of the space’s business would be for product launches, though adding that it would also be open during the day.
But Donna Mitchell, who lives near NV, wasn’t buying the pitch.
“A club is a club,” Mitchell said, going on to complain about the already serious impact on the area’s quality of life. “There are condoms, amyl nitrate poppers on the street in the morning. You have an S.U.V. with a speaker the size of this room. They’re out of their neighborhood — they’re out to have a good time.”
“I can’t even count the number of clubs that say, ‘We’re going to bring in a better kind of people,’ ” added Reck. Reck noted that if the residential zoning he’d backed for that part of Hudson Sq. had been passed, they wouldn’t be having this debate.
Finally, the board approved Buddha Bar for a very large, 14,000-sq.-ft. space in the former Collier’s Building between W. 13th and Little W. 12th Sts. The club’s operators promised there will not be dancing and that they won’t seek a cabaret license, which is needed to allow dancing.
Ivy Jeanne Brown and Michael Bloomberg, two residents of the Triangle Building on Ninth Ave. in the Meat Market, who feel the newly hot area has been overwhelmed by nightlife, were dismayed at the board’s approval.
However, afterwards, Carol Yankay, chairperson of the board’s 14th St./Gansevoort Committee, noted Buddha Bar had reduced the number of seats for diners to 200 and — to help reduce street crowding — created an inside waiting area and a smoking area in an inner courtyard atrium.
In the end, Yankay said, “I went along with it, because they’re going to get approval.”
Community boards’ votes are advisory only. The State Liquor Authority is the ultimate arbiter of dispensing liquor licenses.

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