- 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.
The lame duck session at the Bowery Graffiti Wall has proven an opportune moment for taggers. In the week since Goldman Properties whitewashed the two-story encasement ahead of the next artist design, the fresh canvas has been attacked several times. Especially thanks to the perfect storm of inclement weather and lack of the usual security. […]
Yesterday morning, movers and shakers (nay, demolishers) in the real estate industry met to discuss the future of the Lower East Side vis-a-vis Donald Trump. Like a Pinky & the Brain segment, the summit was seemingly an opportunity to plot the future of how to dominate a neighborhood already suffering attack from all sides. The event, […]
Game on! The 6th Annual New York Game Awards, presented by the members of the New York Videogame Critics Circle, is happening tonight at the Abrons Art Center Playhouse. The group works alongside the community to mentor and distribute college scholarships for all things associated in the realm of gaming. They also have game-oriented panels, fireside chats and do […]
It was only fitting that, two days after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the spirit of protest infiltrated a planning session for the upcoming wall of glass on the Lower East Side waterfront. And a surprise, at that. The powers-that-be set up an info session (free food!) on the environmental review process (“EIS”) for the […]
Another built-for-instagram sweets shop just hit the Lower East Side. And it’s apparently the hottest new shop in Hell. Square, that is. New Territories sold out of product upon its opening Sunday night at 190 Orchard Street. They won’t be back for your dollar until tomorrow, according to a sign on the closed gate. Owned and […]
“L.E.S. is more.” This cringeworthy slogan, a played-out play-on-words, has long been co-opted by the real estate industry in order to sell the Lower East Side. Closer to home, the Lower East Side Partnership, whose singular mission is to increase property values for the area stakeholders, also employs the phrase. Now, big real estate is holding […]
It just wasn’t built to last, and now, reinforcements… Replacements for the heavily-used exercise equipment near the mouth of Pier 35 are finally here. Parks Department workers were spotted installing the new machines yesterday afternoon, much to the delight of locals. Indeed, it’s been a long time coming. Pretty much since debut in February 2015, […]
Opposition continues to mount in the ongoing battle against illegally operating intercity buses. Back in November, the CB3 Transportation subcommittee denied Yep Tour a permit to operate on Pike Street and East Broadway, as it would set a dangerous precedent for other unchecked bus companies. The motion to deny carried, though Yep Tour nevertheless stayed classy in admitting […]
Change is afoot in the Fat Radish empire. The modern British eatery at 17 Orchard Street is set to dish out a new “lunch concept,” and duly welcomes executive chef Nick Wilber back into the fold, to work alongside head chef Jared Dowling. Owners Ben Towill and Phil Winser had previously relocated Wilber to their Upper East Side […]
To live in New York City is so expensive, even the birds can’t afford it. This truth is the creative mojo behind a new temporary art project coming to First Park this month. The incoming sculpture, aptly entitled “Birdhouse Repo,” is the work of city native Aaron Schraeter. Simple yet brilliant, his goal was political […]