A new mural by artist JR graces the construction plywood at the former home of Mason Dixon bar on Essex Street. For more on JR, see www.jr-art.net
The holiday weekend in almost here, and the weather looks like more of the same for today and tomorrow: sunny skies with highs in the mid-80s. There are clouds and a chance of showers in Sunday’s forecast, but Independence Day will be bright and hot, with the mercury touching 90. Enjoy your weekend!
At last night’s Community Board 3 meeting, there was more drama surrounding Mason Dixon, the always controversial-now defunct bar at 133 Essex Street. In the end, the board voted (31-3, with 1 abstention) to approve nightlife operator Matt Levine’s proposal to take over the troubled spot.
Now the State Liquor Authority must decide whether to grant a liquor license for a still-to-be named restaurant. Residents living in the apartments above Mason Dixon, who are suing current owner Rob Shamlian, strongly objected to the new establishment’s proposed 4 a.m. closing time.
Last night’s debate was similar to the discussion that took place during an SLA Committee hearing earlier in the month. We won’t rehash the whole Mason Dixon saga here (you can read our previous coverage for background).
There were, however, some new wrinkles during the full board meeting. At one point, David McWater, a CB3 member and bar owner, rose to his feet in an angry confrontation with members of 133 Essex’s board of directors. The question at hand: did residents who bought apartments know beforehand that there was going to be a bar featuring a mechanical bull on the ground floor of their building? The residents said “no.” Raising his voice and speaking over condo board president Wesley Gaus, McWater asked, “did you find out before or after” purchasing an apartment? Although his explanation was mostly drowned out, Gaus said he and other residents had not been aware of the bar until it was too late to do anything about it.
In addition to our sneak preview of Cafe Grumpy’s impending opening on Essex Street, here’s a roundup of other neighborhood food news breaking today:
It appears the long soap opera involving Lower East Side bar Mason Dixon may be nearing an end. Last night, Community Board 3’s SLA Committee approved (4-2-1) a proposal from nightlife operator Matt Levine to take over the troubled spot at 133 Essex Street.
The current owner, Rob Shamlian, decided it was time to call it quits after the NYPD shuttered the bar last month for alleged underage drinking and other charges. But scrutiny from the 7th Precinct was only his latest problem. Residents living above the bar have been locked in a legal battle with Shamlian for four years.
Photo credit: An Aussie Girl in New York.
Mason Dixon is finally back open, after being shut down by the NYPD for alleged underage drinking violations April 8th. But the mechanical bull party on Essex Street appears to be coming to an end. Grub Street spoke with Mason Dixon owner Rob Shamlian about the ordeal and the future of the nortorious nightlife establishment.
This past Friday night, we broke the news that two Lower East Side bars – Mason Dixon and Los Feliz – were shut down by the 7th Precinct for alleged underage drinking violations. After having a look at court documents, we have a more complete picture this afternoon of the allegations being made by the NYPD.
According to the complaint, undercover (and underage) auxiliary officers have been served alcohol at Mason Dixon, which is owned by Rob Shamlian, on at least two separate occasions (in February and March). In one instance, city attorneys claimed, alcohol was being served past 4 a.m., which is not permitted under New York state law.
The complaint also recounts several fights that broke out inside and outside the bar in December of last year and in January of this year. On Dec. 4, the document states, a fight “resulted in one person being punched and kicked by five other patrons” (they were arrested and charged with assault). Two nights later, police reported, a “patron was struck in the head with a beer bottle… causing pain and bleeding which required immediate medical attention.”
Mason Dixon, 133 Essex Street.
We’re sweating it out tonight at Community Board 3’s dreaded SLA Committee meeting. The below-Houston main event so far: a proposal from nightlife operator Matt Levine to take over the shuttered Mason Dixon space at 133 Essex Street.
Armed with a temporary restraining order, the 7th Precinct put a stop to the beer soaked mechanical bull antics at Mason Dixon last Friday evening (we understand the two sides are due in court tomorrow).
The 7th Precinct shut down two more Lower East Side bars tonight. Shortly after 8pm, police converged on Mason Dixon, 133 Essex, and Los Feliz, 109 Ludlow. Numerous nightlife establishments have met the same fate in recent months, as the precinct takes a hard line on crowd control, late night noise, underage drinking and other issues.
Late this evening, signs were posted on the bars’ doors saying “closed by court order” and restraining order.” They accuse the establishments of serving liquor to minors and (in the case of Mason Dixon) serving liquor “after hours.”
Mason Dixon and Los Feliz are owned by Rob Shamlian, one of the highest profile nightlife operators in the neighborhood. Bar owners have complained about the 7th Precinct’s crackdown, which they believe is victimizing responsible owners by focusing on legal technicalities. Police officers, on the other hand, say the tactics are not only intended to address “quality of life concerns” but also to make sure the problems don’t escalate and lead to violent incidents.
Last month, the NYPD shut down the Gallery Bar on Orchard Street. It reopened a week later, after owners agreed to hire licensed security guards and look into improving soundproofing.
We’ll have more on the Los Feliz/Mason Dixon situation after we have a look at court documents.