Good Morning!

Essex Street near Canal. Photo by Bridget Bosworth.

Thanks to L.E.S. resident Bridget Bosworth for this update on the crowd-pleasing snowman in front of the fruit stand at Essex and Canal. He just keeps growing! You’ll want to have your umbrella with you today – it will be cloudy, with a wintry mix of rain and snow beginning early this afternoon.  Look for a high of 37℉ with similar temps tomorrow; we should see some sun tomorrow afternoon.

The City Planning Commission holds a public hearing on the proposed Chinatown Business Improvement District this morning and we’ll check in on the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. Board meeting. 

Giant Snowman at Essex and Canal

Essex Street and Canal. Photo by Bridget Bosworth.

Thanks to Bridget Bosworth for brightening our day with this photo of a monster snowman at the corner of Essex and Canal. Wowza.

Restaurants Face Strong Community Opposition at CB3 Meeting

It was a tough night for restaurants going before the liquor licensing committee of Community Board 3. Several businesses applying for liquor licenses faced forceful opposition from residents and, in some cases, from committee members.

  • The committee rejected a full liquor license for a restaurant at the corner of Essex & Canal, after a community organization presented a large number of signatures opposing the application. But some board members made it clear they felt the community's objections were "unfortunate." The backers of the restaurant also own the building – and have leased space to a green grocer. They said it's tough to find quality tenants at the location. 
  • Also due to community opposition, Jesse Hartman, who wants to open a restaurant at 365 Grand, withdrew his request. He said he would work with residents to alleviate concerns about noise and about his proposed 4am closing time.
  • The committee denied a liquor license to T Poutine on Ludlow Street.
  • Spitzer's corner was denied its request to add sidewalk seating.

Throughout the evening there was quite a lot of tension among members of the committee, residents fed up with late night noise and partying and restaurant owners who say they can't survive without a robust bar business. Much more to come tomorrow…

Followup: Opposition to New Restaurant

1essex

Last week we told you about a new restaurant planned for the corner of Essex and Canal. A Community Board 3 committee signaled its support for a liquor license for the still unnamed establishment at 1 Essex. But last night local residents appeared before the full Community Board to protest the decision. They did not come to the committee meeting because they said the application had been removed from the published agenda. During the committee meeting, even some board members seemed surprised the “1 Essex” application was, in fact, going to be heard. Chair Alexandra Militano said she had not read the application in advance because she believed it was not on the agenda.

The people who spoke last night said there are already 11 liquor licenses within 500 feet of “1 Essex.” If there are already three restaurants/bars with liquor licenses within 500 feet of a business seeking permission to serve alcohol, the committee requires that business to prove the “public benefit” of awarding a new license. The residents said they do not want to see the area below Delancey become another Rivington Street, over-saturated with late night bars and clubs. The group asked CB3 to send the issue back to the committee, so that they’ll be able to voice their opposition.

During last week’s meeting, committee members did not seem to view the application as particularly controversial, and not only because no one was present to oppose it. The board members appeared to agree that the proposed restaurant is not in an area over-saturated with liquor licenses.

At last night’s session there was a more general debate about the awarding of liquor licenses. Most members expressed the sentiment that the infestation of bars on the Lower East Side has seriously harmed the quality of life in the neighborhood. There was a dissenting point of view. Board member Meghan Joye voiced the concern that restaurants, small businesses that fuel local economies, should not be run out of town.

Repeated efforts to reach the owners of “1 Essex” have been unsuccessful. We’ll be following this one closely. Stay tuned.