- Featured / Eldridge Block Association Scores Victory Against Sapphire Lounge at SLA Hearing
Eldridge Block Association Scores Victory Against Sapphire Lounge at SLA Hearing
Posted on: July 26th, 2013 at 5:23 am by Staff
Last week, the Eldridge Street Block Association (ESBA) went up against the Sapphire Lounge at a State Liquor Authority (SLA) hearing on renewing the bar’s license.
Sapphire has had a contemptuous history on the block. For almost 20 years, neighbors have put up with excessive noise and rowdy crowds outside of the club at 249 Eldridge.
In recent months, ESBA had met repeatedly with Jahan Salarimatin, owner of Sapphire, to try to hammer out stipulations about crowd control, noise levels (both inside the building, and outside on the street), and other issues.They had come to an agreement on all but one of the stipulations, but it was a critical one having to do with the level of noise in the apartments above the club.
At a Communty Board (CB3) hearing back in April, Salarimatin stated he would be renovating the space and including soundproofing. ESBA argued that he had to sign the stipulations before they could support anything. The problematic stipulation specified that the sound in the apartments above the club be “inaudible.” CB3 approved the language after hearing testimony from a large number of residents from many buildings on the block. The board also didn’t love the fact that the club had a complaint history. However, Salarimatin didn’t sign and instead took the case to the SLA last week.
ESBA brought a number of letters from residents in many affected buildings who were directly impacted by the nightclub’s unruly crowds. Aside from the many noise complaints, residents testified that they had been chased down the street by patrons blocking their doorways and had been cursed out and threatened by drunks. The bouncers, they stated, didn’t intervene despite these incidents taking place right in front of the club.
The SLA ruled in ESBA’s favor. Sound tests will now be conducted in the apartments above Sapphire and, once the sound levels are agreed upon (with a rep from CB3 there to mediate), even if they are BELOW the standard city code (which is often too loud inside apartments), that sound level will be written into the stipulations. Salarimatin needs to then sign the stipulations in order to keep his liquor license. This ruling is a huge victory for the neighborhood and, hopefully, this will set a precedent with other blocks who are having similar problems.
The chairman of the SLA said that the decision was directly influenced by the fact that tenants physically came to the hearing and spoke about the problems. And learning that the block association had reached out and attempted to resolve issues was also a significant factor in the SLA’s determination that the residents were acting as rational, logical neighbors who are just trying coexist peacefully with the businesses on their block while also getting some sleep.
Many block associations are finding that it is crucial to get as many tenants as possible who are DIRECTLY impacted by problems from bars and clubs to testify at these hearings. The SLA hearings, though, are during the day, so those who spoke had to take off from work in order to testify. But after nearly 20 years of not sleeping and being harassed, it was worth their time.
The SLA hearing, both video and audio are available here (July 17th/first listing/01:56:54 – 02:45:37).
ESBA and other block associations have been spreading the word that, to complain about noise and other problems, tenants must call 311, get a complaint number, and then ALSO go to the “complaint page” on the CB3 website to give them that complaint number. And if it is really bad, you need to call the police as well.
Note: after calling 311, you don’t have to immediately file the CB3 complaint. You can instead attempt to get some sleep and do it later that day. Unfortunately, if you only call 311 and do not also file the complaint information online with CB3, they will not have a complaint history. That complaint history is crucial at CB3 and SLA hearings.
We’re keeping track of restaurants, bars, and other businesses that are open during this blizzard of 2015. The list is a work in progress that we’ll periodically update. At least you’ll be able to hit the gym and get a new tattoo before shoveling the sidewalk… Here’s what we have so far, in no particular […]
Everyone is getting ready for the imminent snowstorm this week, which could dump nearly two feet of snow on New York City. Whole Foods is notoriously elbow-to-elbow busy with doomsday shoppers. Down at the Department of Sanitation silo of salt, preparations are underway to ensure supply is ample. Caught this lone bulldozer sitting atop an enormous […]
The neverending clusterfuck of construction on East Houston apparently requires an army of machinery. At last count the embattled traffic artery now boasts eight backhoes and related equipment, positioned between Forsyth and Allen. In addition, a double wide shoulder was created outside the Sunshine Cinema. Such roadwork is wreaking havoc on traffic patterns with no end in […]
Lawlessness seems to thrive these days at the corner of Norfolk and Delancey Streets. On one hand, you’ve got controversial landlord Samy Mahfar who is converting #102 to luxury and already exposed tenants to toxic levels of lead dust; right next door at #100 is the 12-story cantilevered condo project by Adam America which commissions […]
Demolition Likely for Provident Loan Society Building on East Houston; New Development on the Horizon
It’s truly unfortunate when you discover that a particular architectural treasure is not officially landmarked and is then demolished for luxury living. This trend is endemic of the Lower East Side lately, its very character endangered. And we’re probably losing another. The latest victim of the onslaught is allegedly the Provident Loan Society building at the […]
Not even a month into 2015, and already the high-profile Lower East Side closures are stacking up. The greats are fading. Streit’s Matzo obviously comes to mind, with fifth-generation ownership having sold the Rivington Street factory after 90 years on the block. That teary goodbye – and subsequent relocation to New Jersey – is planned […]
Demolition for the Essex Crossing mega-project is slated to begin on Monday, forever changing the face of the Lower East Side and its heretofore low-level skyline. As previously reported, Site 2 at the corner of Essex and Delancey is the first parcel to receive knockdown treatment. The parking lot has already been cleared of vehicles, […]
Let’s take a stroll down Ludlow Street circa 1995… The following snippet of footage is a glimpse of Ludlow Street “on the corner of East Houston and Katz’s Delicatessen” as filmed by Corey Shaff (narrated by Ronnie DeMonarco). “Planet Ludlow,” as it’s called, is essentially a four-minute tour of the block and its stock of […]
The former Living Room space is amidst conversion to a dry use. After the failed bid by exiled drag bar Lucky Cheng’s to take 154 Ludlow Street, the Hell Square address is now forsaking nightlife altogether. Construction has already begun on the artsy replacement; a plywood shed and curbside dumpster are now part of the […]
While residents grapple with the terrors of living under the thumb of Samy Mahfar, a new restaurant is opening in the commercial space of 102 Norfolk Street. As previously reported, a 14-seat Mexican joint called La Contenta Cocina de Barrio has taken the reins from Saro Bistro, which closed in April 2014 after a solid […]