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Follow-up: Max Fish, NYPD Continue Settlement Talks

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Here’s an update on the plight of Max Fish, which was shuttered by the NYPD last weekend for alleged underage drinking violations. The legendary bar’s owner, Ulli Rimkus, and city attorneys spent a full day in settlement talks yesterday. There was no resolution, allowing Max Fish to re-open, but the two sides will be back in court tomorrow to resume negotiations.

A couple of days ago, Grub Street posted a brief statement from Rimkus about the situation:

We hope to resolve this misunderstanding and fight the erroneous allegations against us with the city and are working hard to get Max Fish back open for our loyal customers and my staff who have been out of work for over a week. I was touched to see that our customers started a petition to get us back open. The generous spirit of the LES is alive and well!

Last night, a Grub Street reporter attended the 7th Precinct Community Council meeting, complaining that the NYPD had not responded to her interview requests. Pressing Deputy Inspector Nancy Barry, the reporter said many bar owners on the Lower East Side feel “persecuted,” six months after the precinct stepped up nightlife enforcement throughout the neighborhood.

She asked whether Captain David Miller, who oversees enforcement, could address her concerns. Community Council President Don West stepped in, saying that, due to a very full meeting agenda, there was no time to address the bar issue. He suggested the reporter speak with Miller after the meeting.

At last month’s council meeting, Miller talked extensively about nightlife enforcement. You can read his full remarks here. In a nutshell, he said no bar has been shut down without ample warning and a concerted effort on his part to work with the bar owner to resolve problems. Last night, Barry added that the precinct takes underage drinking seriously — and she noted that a large amount of crime occurs in and around the neighborhood’s bars.

A few days ago, we talked with Mike Bones, the Max Fish bartender who started the petition. He said Rimkus and her staff would wait to comment in detail about the ordeal until after settling with the city. More than 1600 people have now signed the petition.

One other related note: last night Community Board 3’s transportation committee approved a request from the 7th Precinct to expand “no parking” zones on weekend evenings.  Residents frequently complain about incessant honking late into the night, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. Through the parking ban, the precinct is hoping to discourage nightlife patrons from driving to the Lower East Side. The full board will vote on the proposal later this month.

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