Owner of “Old Man Hustle” Bar Jousts With Community Board 3, Former Partners
Little bar, big drama. The owner of Old Man Hustle, a three-year-old watering hole at 39 Essex St. tangled with members of Community Board 3’s liquor licensing panel Monday night. He also traded accusations and insults with his former partners, who were sitting in the audience. Suffice it to say, it was an unpleasant experience for all involved.
Jesse Danoff had come to CB3 for a change of ownership application and to extend his hours from 1:30 a.m. to 4 a.m. But Old Man Hustle has been the subject of noise complaints from neighbors and was briefly shut down in December by the NYPD in an underage drinking sting (see document below). Danoff, an attorney, reached a settlement with the city, allowing him to reopen the bar with new measures in place to prevent underage customers from being served alcohol.
Under the circumstances, members of the community board were in no mood to support Danoff’s application. They rattled off a litany of complaints, including accusations that the bar stays open long after 1:30, when it’s required to close. Danoff said the underage violations happened while he was on vacation and he blamed two partners, Mike Jarmuz and Paige Danoff, who have been bought out.
Until very recently, said Emma Culbert of the SPaCE Block Association, the bar’s published hours (on its website) were 3 or 4 a.m. This, in spite of a written agreement with the block association to close earlier. “It seems like they do what they want,” Culbert said. Noise complaints have come from a variety of sources, she added, including residents of the Seward Park Co-op, who face the Essex Street bar.
Anastasia Canonica, who lives in the building, said the noise coming from downstairs is so loud she cannot sleep. “The business is a disgrace to this community,” she said. Danoff, however, said her complaints should not be taken seriously because Canonica is Mike Jarmuz’s girlfriend. The former partners are engaged in a bitter dispute.
Danoff was strongly encouraged by community board members to withdraw his request for extended hours, and he complied. Alex Militano, the committee chairperson, also wanted an agreement from Danoff to add soundproofing to his establishment. But he refused, saying there is no point in spending the money when the complaints would keep on coming from his neighbors (and former partners) no matter what he does.
Danoff said the 7th Precinct has no problems with his bar. This contention was disputed by CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzer, who said she’s spoken with the precinct’s commanding officer about Old man Hustle on numerous occasions. In the end, Danoff asked, “Why should I be holding myself up for more (operating) stipulations when I’m not getting anything in return?” At that point, one community board member suggested there was little more to discuss. “I would love to leave right now,” said Danoff. And then he did.