Sunshine Cinema Says Alcohol Permit is Key to Staying on the LES; CB3 Balks

The Sunshine Cinema is applying for a new liquor permit. Photo via: Cinema Treasures.

Last night, representatives of the Landmark Theatre Company told members of Community Board 3 that their plan to sell alcoholic drinks at the Sunshine Cinema offers the only hope of keeping the art house theater at 143 East Houston Street.  But citing an incomplete application and concerns about the scale of the proposed liquor permit, CB3’s SLA Committee sent them away with a tongue-lashing and the threat of rejection.  Executives from the company withdrew their application for the time being.

Mike Fant, Landmark’s senior vice president for real estate,  said the company will soon be renegotiating its lease in the historic 1898 building on East Houston Street that has served as a center of independent film downtown for more than a decade.  He indicated that the property owner expected to have multiple offers from other theater companies.  In anticipation of a big rent increase,  Fant said, Landmark wants to invest $1 million to transform the Sunshine into an upscale venue for drinks, dinner and film.

Liquor License News: Freemans Expands, More Karaoke, Another Orchard Street Bar

Onside K-One, the karaoke club at 97 Bowery.

More details are rolling in concerning the applicants going before Community Board 3’s liquor licensing board next Monday.  Documents posted on CB3’s web site show:

  • Andy Lee wants to expand his K-One karaoke bar to the fourth floor of 97 Bowery.   The liquor license would be extended to seven private karaoke lounges in the growing club.  The new space would be open until 4 a.m. seven days a week.  There are already 12 rooms listed on the bar’s web site; we’ll have to see how many total rooms the owners plan to add.
  • Taavo Somer and Kent Kilroe of the Freemans empire plan to take over 8 Rivington Street, the former home of “The National.”  Based on diagrams submitted to the board, it looks like they want to expand Freemans Sporting Club (their upscale men’s clothing store) into the ground-floor space and add a bar with small plates and appetizers on the lower level.  The lounge would be open 4 p.m. to 4 a.m.  In the past, a few very vocal neighbors have showed up to oppose Somer’s expansion plans for his flagship restaurant in Freemans Alley, just around the corner from 8 Rivington.
  • And the team behind Midtown bar, “Redemption,” on 2nd Avenue, is looking to take over a vacant space at 138 Orchard Street.  They’re seeking a full bar, 4 p.m.-4 a.m. hours and say they’ll be serving “American” food. This place would be on the same block as Lucky Jack’s.

More to come…




Hotel Ludlow Team Asks CB3 to Support Liquor License for Italian Restaurant

180 Ludlow Street.

As EV Grieve noted the other day, 180 Ludlow Street is beginning to look more like the hotel it’s destined to become with each passing week. The “Ludlow Hotel” site was stalled for many years before the team behind the Bowery Hotel, the Jane Hotel and many other Manhattan properties bought it two years ago for $25 million.  A week from tonight, they’ll ask Community Board 3’s SLA Committee to support their liquor license application for the 20-story hotel’s ground-floor restaurant.

The names listed on the application are Richard Born, Ira Druckier, Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson.  Some or all of the applicants are involved in some of the city’s most well-known hotels and restaurants, including the Maritime, the Mercer and aforementioned Bowery and Jane Hotels. Restaurants in their portfolio include The Park in West Chelsea, the Waverly Inn and B Bar in the East Village.

CB3 Releases December Liquor License Agenda

The Sunshine Cinema is applying for a new liquor permit. Photo via: Cinema Treasures.

Community Board 3 is out with next month’s meeting agendas, including the lineup for the December 10th SLA Committee hearing.  Here’s a look at the restaurants and bars applying for liquor permits on the Lower East Side:


SLA & DCA Licensing Committee
Monday, December 10 at 6:30pm — JASA/Green Residence – 200 East 5th Street at Bowery
applicant’s name follow by current owner if applicable

Renewal with Complaint History
1. Double Wide, 505 E 12th St (op)
2. The Suffolk Bar, 107 Suffolk St (wb)
Sidewalk Café
3. ULURP N 130079 ECM: Preserve 24 (Aegis Holding Houston LLC), 175-177 E Houston St (enclosed sidewalk cafe)
Applications within Resolution Areas
4. To be Determined, 154 Ludlow St (op)
5. 154 Ludlow Bar LLC, 154 Ludlow St (op)
6. Café & Bar Racer LLC, 127 St Marks Pl (wb)
7. Cornerstone Café (AO Café & Restaurant LLC), 17 Ave B (op)
8. Pride and Joy (Pride and Joy BBQ LLC), 24 1st Ave (op)
9. Ludlow Hotel (Ludlow Hospitality), 180 Ludlow St (op)
10. Apartment 13 (115 Ave C LLC), 115 Ave C (op)

Cafe Petisco Seeks Full Liquor License

Cafe Petisco, 189 East Broadway.

Cafe Petisco, the Mediterranean-accented restaurant at 189 East Broadway, has applied for a full liquor license.  The popular neighborhood spot across from Seward Park already has a beer and wine permit, but next month the operators will ask Community Board 3 for an upgrade. The restaurant does a brisk breakfast, lunch and early dinner business, but is usually not very busy in the latter part of the evening.

Last summer, the owners of Eastwood, a bar opening soon at 221 East Broadway (a block east of Petisco) successfully won CB3 approval for a full liquor license in spite of opposition from some local residents and Primitive Christian Church.   The situation is a bit different this time around.  For one thing, Cafe Petisco is an established business, rather than a new venture.  Second, it’s a restaurant — not a bar.  We have a call into Petisco’s owners to find out more about their plans.


CB3’s November Liquor License Agenda: Cheeky Sandwiches Expands, Shamlian Tries Again

Din Yates, owner of Cheeky Sandwiches. Photo by

The docket for Community Board 3’s liquor license hearing is now online. Among the applicants: Din Yates of Cheeky Sandwiches at 35 Orchard Street, who’s going for a wine/beer license. Din has been planning to offer all-day breakfast service in the lower level of his quirky New Orleans-style sandwich shop.  Also of note: Rob Shamlian is back on the agenda for an additional liquor permit at Tiny Fork, his oyster bar at 167 Orchard Street.  Shamlian was scheduled to appear before CB3 this month, but withdrew his application.   Click through for the full agenda.

YO! Bus Stop Proposed on Pike Street, Near East Broadway

Proposed bus stop on Pike Street.

Community Board 3 is out with its November meeting agendas. One item of particular interest: the transportation committee’s November 14th hearing, which will include a proposal from Greyhound for a bus stop on Pike Street, between East Broadway and Division.   In September, residents beat back a plan from Greyhound’s new discount “YO! Bus” service for a stop in front of Seward Park on Essex Street.

The agenda indicates the stop would “would be on the small median (not the sidewalk directly adjacent to the former gas station).  The closest street address is 2 Pike Street.”

The meeting takes place at 6:30 p.m. on November 14th at LaMama, 47 Great Jones Street.


Affordable Housing Activist Added to Seward Park Task Force

Rendering: NYC Economic Development Corp.

Last week we reported there was a lot of displeasure about the composition of the new community task force created to help guide the city’s selection of developers for the Seward Park redevelopment project.  In response to complaints lodged after Community Board 3 Chairperson Gigi Li announced the appointees, an additional community representative has been tapped to join the panel. Li made the announcement at last night’s CB3 meeting.

The task force will be working with city planning officials to draft a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Seward Park sites and they will have a role in selecting developers for the large mixed-use project.  Initially, Li appointed five community board members and two representatives from local “stakeholder” organizations (the LES BID and University Settlement).  Local elected officials also have seats on the panel.  At last week’s land use committee meeting, community activists complained that the task force lacked racial and geographic diversity.

Community Board 3 Rejects Full Liquor License for Restaurant at 106 Rivington Street

106 Rivington Street.

Last night, Community Board 3 rejected a controversial proposal for a full liquor license at 106 Rivington Street, a location destined to be a large Latin-themed restaurant.  In a 16-17 vote (there were two abstentions which counted as “no” votes), the board decided to recommend to the State Liquor Authority that the application be disapproved. In a followup vote, CB3 approved a beer and wine license and reduced operating hours (midnight closing time) for the multi-level restaurant across from the Hotel on Rivington.

Both supporters and opponents came out in force to testify last night.  Foes of the proposal said Rivington Street has become intolerable on weekend evenings due to an overabundance of nightlife establishments — and the new restaurant would only add to the chaotic scene. Backers argued that the owners, longtime local residents and business owners, had earned the trust of the neighborhood and deserved a chance to prove they could run a responsible venue.

Earlier, this month, in another close vote, CB33’s liquor licensing committee voted to approve the full bar application, after the owners agreed to reduced hours and made other concessions.  The decision is now up to the State Liquor Authority.

More to come…


City Schedules Community Workshop on Intercity Bus Permits

A “Chinatown” bus on Allen Street.

it’s been a few weeks since the great Essex Street bus stop debacle — in which the city approved and then rescinded a permit for Greyhound to operate an intercity bus route from a location in front of Seward Park.  While residents may have beaten back this particular proposal, we can expect a lot more applications like it in the months ahead.

Coming up on November 1, the city’s Department of Transportation is holding a “community workshop” to solicit feedback concerning policies and procedures for granting so-called “Chinatown buses” permits to operate in Manhattan. The permit system was mandated by a state law signed by Governor Cuomo in August.

Community Activists Question Makeup of Seward Park Task Force, Criticize Secrecy

Seward Park redevelopment area.

The warm, fuzzy feeling that prevailed last week after the City Council voted to approve the Seward Park redevelopment plan did not last long.  Last night, Community Board 3’s chairperson, Gigi Li, announced the appointees of a new task force created to work with the city to evaluate proposals from developers.  The makeup of the panel did not go over well with several members of CB3’s land use committee, which spent the past three years hammering out a compromise plan for the seven-acre site near the Williamsburg Bridge.

Task force members will include Chairperson Li, former CB3 Chair Dominic Berg, CB3 Land Use Committee Co-chairs David McWater and Linda Jones (sharing a seat), Lisa Kaplan (a CB3 member and Council member Rosie Mendez’s former chief of staff), CB3 member Karen Blatt, LES BID Executive Director Bob Zuckerman and University Settlement Executive Director Michael Zisser.  Matt Viggiano (Council member Margaret Chin’s land use director),  Vanessa Diaz (Council member Mendez’s current chief of staff) and a representative of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s staff will also have seats on the task force.

CB3 Panel Approves 106 Rivington Liquor License, But More Battles Are Ahead

106 Rivington Street.

The owners of a large new restaurant and bar at 106 Rivington Street prevailed at Community Board 3’s liquor licensing committee last night, but the battle is not over yet.  A divided vote (6-4) means another contentious debate is likely when the full board convenes October 23.

On one side last night: Jose Rodriguez and Robert Payne, who are opening a multi-level Latin-themed restaurant in a four story tenement across the street from the Hotel on Rivington.  They were pitted against residents,  many of them part of a new block association, LES Dwellers, who say the neighborhood’s nightlife scene is out of control.

Rob Shamlian Withdraws Liquor Permit Application For Lounge at 167 Orchard Street

167 Orchard Street.

The other day we mentioned that a new block association, the LES Dwellers Association, is helping residents fight a liquor license application at 167 Orchard Street (at Stanton).   Rob Shamlian (Spitzer’s Corner, Fat Baby, etc.) and Frank Vivolo (Bruschetta) are opening “Tiny Fork,” an oyster bar in the new Slipper Room building.  Community Board 3 signed off on a liquor license for the establishment many months ago, but the operators were seeking  a second license for a lower level lounge, and planned to go before CB3’s SLA Committee Monday night. But now the application has been withdrawn.

Members of LES Dwellers suspect Shamlian and company made note of community opposition and decided to hold off on the application until the neighbors aren’t paying such close attention.  But the organization’s leader, Diem Boyd says “we will be watching.”   Although CB3 approved the initial license in 2010,  it’s still listed on the State Liquor Authority’s web site as “pending.”

106 Rivington St. Battle Leads to LES Dwellers Assoc.

106 Rivington Street.

Diem Boyd has lived on Rivington Street for 13 years, and in the East Village for seven years before that.  Her block is  pretty peaceful during the day, but come nighttime, this congested stretch just west of Essex Street is a non-stop party zone.  The tenement she calls home is directly across the street from the Hotel on Rivington and its ground-floor lounge open to the street.  Lower East Side hot spots Spitzer’s Corner and Fat Baby bookend the block.  “Starting on Wednesday night from about 9 o’clock until Sunday morning at 4 a.m..” she says, (her street) “is unlivable. The crowds of people, the noise, the club doors open, the music blasting out, people congregating. There’s vomit and urine on every doorstep. It’s like a war zone, really, like we’re under siege.”

So last month when Boyd learned another establishment was planned for 106 Rivington, right next door, she decided it was time to fight back. Along with a few others, Boyd headed for her first community board meeting, prepared to protest the proposal which she felt would ruin what was left of her neighborhood.  The battle did not end that night but became the catalyst for a new organization, LES Dwellers, “a grassroots, community organization trying to salvage what is left of the once vibrant, culturally diverse, and sometimes irreverent community.”

Oysters on Orchard, Boozing at the Sunshine, Back Room Bar at Parkside

167 Orchard Street.

The Lower East Side oyster bar frenzy shows no signs of fading.  Rob Shamlian (Spitzer’s Corner, etc.) and Frank Vivolo (Bruschetteria) will be back before Community Board 3’s SLA Committee this month to outline plans for “Tiny Fork,” a raw bar in the Slipper Room building at 167 Orchard Street.  The board approved their liquor license way back in 2010, but they’re returning to add “downstairs bar.”

Last week we posted the full agenda for CB3’s October 15th committee meeting.  As previously mentioned the Sunshine Cinema wants permission to serve liquor.  The theater’s application, now available on CB3’s web site, details plans for three separate bars; there would be food service as well as beer, wine and hard liquor available.