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Question of the Day: Should the City Give Bars a Break?

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Is the NYPD unfairly targeting bars and clubs, raiding them for minor offenses, forcing them to pay steep fines and, in so doing, driving them out of business? This was the argument made recently by two Community Board 3 members, who also own several bars in the neighborhood (see our full post on the topic here). What do you think? Go here to comment and to read comments from others. Some great related comments can also be found here.

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  1. The CB3 board members are incredibly biased and in a position to crush their competition and protect their self interests unlike any other business owner in New York.
    EV/LES has become overrun with bars to the detriment of all other services, as they are the only ones who can afford the outrageous rents. You can’t make enough selling groceries or shining shoes in these neighborhoods any more to pay the bills.
    Nobody wants all bars to disappear, we just want them to be managed, as many other cities do through zoning, and protecting the interests of the RESIDENTS. So many bars are now advocating serious drinking to even further raise their revenues to pay the disturbingly high rents, which leaves the streets full of very drunk people who are vomiting on the sidewalks and making an inordinate amount of noise as they stand around outside the bars screaming drunkenly into their cell phones and at each other. I live off the avenue and on the top floor, which sounds like it shouldn’t be impacted, but it’s like these crowds of people are right outside my window, and I can’t even see them when I look outside. It’s a din that travels.
    Take this test: on a Saturday night, around midnight, walk north on Avenue A from 8th Street. You will notice how quiet it is, even with restaurants and bars doing a brisk business. Not creepy quiet, but not egregious. As you hit 11th Street you start to audibly hear the difference in noise from the bars that are on 12th-14th Street which cater to these large crowds. It is startling. You can’t really understand the issue until you’ve experienced it.
    Many people will write in here and say that the residents’ voices shouldn’t matter, bars trump quality of life for the residents, we should be happy that there are any businesses still operating at all when so many storefronts are empty. But the stores are empty because the landlords won’t reduce their rents to accomodate other types of businesses. The EV/LES is a residential neighborhood. Look UP for once and you will see that it is fully packed with people living here. If you only look at eye level you might think it is your personal playground, which is a mistake.
    It’s not like there were never bars in the EV, and for people who’ve lived here for decades we love it here because the nightlife was part of the great mix. The difference is the RECENT rude and loud people who come to visit and then are bad guests.
    It hasn’t been like this in the past 30 years, and there has always been a nightlife here. But the temper has changed, that is a fact, and it isn’t for the good. There are fewer essential services – butcher, fishmonger, bodegas and groceries and other retailers that we would love to have back. Instead we have hookah bars and frat bars where those businesses used to be.
    The density of the bars is the problem, coupled with some (not all by any stretch) bar owners who don’t care about being good neighbors by ensuring that their patrons stay inside their bars, but allow them to congregate on the sidewalk in great numbers. I once counted over 100 people standing on Avenue A & 13th St. at midnight. I think that calls for a parade permit.

  2. Do Pigs Fly?
    What breaks should city bars get? the ability to not soundproof their establishments, the ability to let the crowd go wild on the street. The ability to disturb teh community. What bias does CB3 have? If they were so biased then there would be no bars in the hood. Give me a break. Perhaps the city should just let the whole city to be bars!!!

  3. Punish bar owners? Hmmmm….?
    The capitalist do what the capitalists do – same as it ever was… But, whatever happened to holding individuals responsible for their behavior? Round ’em up. Throw them in the drunk tank.
    The thought comes to me because of a discovery I made during a visit to an elderly friend in Bay Ridge. There on the stoop of a little row house on quiet Ridge Blvd. was the owner of one of the LES’s most heinous hookah bars in a tender moment with some children and a woman. Ah, happy, content, peaceful.
    Why is it that they can be assured of their peaceful enjoyment of their homes, and they most certainly can, and we here on the LES cannot? Enforcement of Laws! I cannot go to that street, in front of his family’s(?) home at 3:00 AM and start screaming, show up with friends and start arguing, singing, playing car radios, oh yeah, and SCREAMING, without expecting to be arrested.
    And, knowing that has curbed my inclination toward my base urge… payback. Thank the goddess/god/Allah etc. because that is not who any of us want to be. I believe that in the best sense we have put a system of laws in place to help point us all to our better selves, not just as punishment but when the punishment is lacking, as is the case in the LES, there is no deterrent. It is ultimately a disservice to all of these young people to condone their sinking into the mire of base, obscene and anti-social behavior. Enforce any and every law meant to protect and guide a civil society. At the very least, call their parents!
    Is it too much to ask of our civil servants? Is the wolf guarding the henhouse? Has anyone ever done a study on alcohol abuse amongst NYC’s finest? Wouldn’t it be nice to change out all those liquor licenses and pass laws that would fill up all those hookah pipes with something else? Maybe there would be fewer off-duty cops running over citizens with their cars…

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