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106 Rivington Saga Continues With Owners Refusing to Comment
Commentary from street level continues to pour in regarding the proposed Latin bistro-lounge at 106 Rivington Street. Ownership staunchly defends their plans for a “family” establishment in seeking a full liquor license, while denizens in the immediate vicinity claim their argument is simply smoke-and-mirrors. If approved, it would be the eighth license on the block between Ludlow and Essex.
The situation reached a boiling point last Wednesday evening during the inaugural LES Dwellers meeting. We were unable to attend but received numerous recaps. Community Board 3 district manager Susan Stetzer and local pol Wade Chan were both in attendance as well. The gathering was intended to be a discussion on growing concerns regarding over-saturation in Hell Square. From what we were told, the meeting was highly polarized with an overwhelming percentage of the turnout virulently in support of 106 Rivington Street. We fielded reports of divisiveness, verbal bullying, and accusations of racism.
In response to the uproarious 100-plus comments on posts regarding this story, we contacted the owners’ representative to ask a few basic questions about the operation. The goal was to learn more while also addressing the concerns raised by those residents most affected by the addition of another drinking establishment here. For whatever reason, team 106 Rivington ultimately declined to comment based on rumors that we had attended the SLA meeting last month (we hadn’t).
The supposed representative (in addition to refusing our questions at the last moment, they also declined to state their actual affiliation) did note that they’ll address questions at the upcoming meeting on October 15.
Until then, this is what we asked:
- Tell us about the ownership and your/their connection to the Lower East Side. How long have you lived here? Any unique Lower East Side memories you can share?
- 106 Rivington Street is in a resolution area, meaning applicants require proof of a “public benefit or strong support from residents in the immediate area” (adjoining, above, behind, across street) to score a liquor license. With seven licenses already on the block between Ludlow and Essex, what is the additional benefit of having another?
- What will set this proposed establishment apart from those that already exist? A major concern from neighbors is that it will attract yet another late night rowdy crowd despite promises of a neighborhood family establishment.
- The CB3 application calls for capacity 200, DJ booth, two bouncers, multiple TV screens, and 4 am closing. On paper, this fits the key criteria for a nightclub, but that doesn’t seem like how it’s being presented. Are those things needed to be a successful restaurant and, if so, why do you think so? Are there plans for something in addition to the restaurant?
- Accusations are flying that localized criticism against the 106 Rivington application is racially-motivated. However, both supporters and opponents of the plan have both stated that racism accusations are a distraction from the real point. What do you think?
- Have you considered alternate locations for the establishment?
- What do you see the Lower East Side becoming in five years?