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.
This week, native New Yorker Susan Fensten plucks another gem from her father’s outstanding collection of previously-unseen images. The shot in question is a spooky backyard scene captured at Mr. Fensten’s East Fifth Street residence (between First and Second Avenues) in 1984. He worked as a bike messenger and lived in a tiny studio at […]
Primed and paved in the last couple weeks, that fresh layer of asphalt on Lafayette Street will soon gain some green. Yup. A new, safer bike lane is most likely on the way. The DOT threw together a deck describing in detail the plan to install a protected bike lane along the west side of […]
The Moldy Fig is has been closed for over two years, but its awning and neon sign remained in place. Until this week. Stanton Street Kitchen is happening, and it’s already planted a flag at 178 Stanton Street. Last November, the latest in a string of applicants for this address obtained Community Board 3 approval […]
Min’s Market, the bodega stalwart at the corner of Clinton and East Houston, is going out of business this weekend. Boogie reader Mike Brown relays the info that the reliable grocer is set to close for good on Saturday. A significant rent increase is blamed for their downfall. It’s a substantial footprint. One can only […]
Centre-fuge just released information regarding the forthcoming mural to grace the mid-block DOT trailer on East First Street. Unlike previous installations, though, Cycle 13 will be a solo effort by project alumna Lexi Bella. She is the first artist to do so. Timed to coincide with the inaugural Lower East Side History Month (annually in […]
Three days ago, Ian Schrager received blessings from the Department of Bulidings to construct his sun-eclipsing hotel at 215 Chrystie Street. Various permits for excavation and superstructure work, as well as for zoning changes, were all approved. This newest (nay, unneeded) Lower East Side hotel, the first city location for the “Public” brand, will rise […]
Once again, the feature film Time Out of Mind will be filming in the neighborhood today. Richard Gere will likely be around to reprise his role as a homeless dude. Shooting will predominantly transpire in the immediate vicinity of the Essex Market. Time Out of Mind stars Richard Gere as a homeless New Yorker who tries to reconnect with […]
Back in January, it was the New York Post that reported notorious 90s club kid Michael Alig – convicted in the murder and dismemberment of drug dealer Angel Melendez – would be paroled very soon. Turns out that might happen as soon as early next month. Alig’s friend, and nightlife maven in his own right, Steve […]
So it looks like preservationists do have a moment in the sun to fawn over 50 Bowery and its possible ties to the famed Bull’s Head Tavern of yore. But the exercise will most likely be short-lived. After all, the Bowery needs its hotel, and fast. Consultants from the Brooklyn-based Chrysalis Archaeology firm have been down at the project […]
Since it’s arguably the best neon sign around these parts, many in the neighborhood had been patiently awaiting the arrival of another Russ & Daughters sign to light up the Lower East Side. That moment arrived a couple days ago at 127 Orchard Street where the new sixty-five-seat cafe is slated to debut in the […]