Notes from CB3: The DL Denied, David McWater Charges LES Dwellers
Fireworks crackled outside the Hernandez Houses on Allen Street last night, but the real incendiaries were inside at the SLA subcommittee meeting of Community Board 3. What promised to be a rather typical night of extended drama turned ugly when one of the board members apparently charged the LES Dwellers.
We’ll explain. The applicants who wished to seize the Gallery Bar space – Pure 120 – had been pleading their case to open some sort of bar-restaurant at 120 Orchard Street. Their pitch was disastrous. Longtime promoter David Jaffe was seemingly banking on pity and character traits to help score approval, considering none of the members have any experience managing a bar. Indeed, all the partners are in the tech or finance world. The LES Dwellers gave their two cents, mentioning that Jaffe and company applied for an almost carbon copy club on West 17th Street two months ago, but was denied by CB5. At that point, board member David McWater entered the room, and Dweller Sara Romanoski called out the tardiness as somewhat fishy. Basically she insinuated that McWater, who sold Nice Guy Eddie’s to Darren Rubell (of Gallery Bar) for Boulton & Watt, showed up just in time for this vote. Those pushed buttons resulted in constant verbal attacks between the two parties, and near fisticuffs after McWater charged Romanoski (Ed. note: CB3 needs to address this issue, stat).
Pure 120 was ultimately denied the license transfer.
The DL had its own drama with regard to a renewal, albeit not quite in the same TMZ fashion. Yet there were still some surprises. Like the fact that the State Liquor Authority had already approved the renewal before anything was heard by CB3. (Supposedly it officially takes effect at the end of the month, and stipulations could still be appended to the license) This took the board by surprise, and resulted in lengthy testimony about the miserable experience the DL creates for the neighborhood. About how the triplex club is not operating in concert with its stipulations, and even possibly breaking the law by hosting public open bars. Two concerned neighbors spoke to oppose the renewal, as did the LES Dwellers. Operator Paul Seres defended his establishment by noting its alleged positives for the neighborhood – video cameras, working with the 7th Precinct, hosting event space for the Lower East Side BID, and the Nick Walker mural on Ludlow. And despite the seemingly futile nature of even taking a vote, the motion was carried to deny outright. Whether or not this will have an effect on operations remains to be seen.
Decades-old rock bar HiFi was approved for an alteration to add a bar in the back room. The original proposal was to expand into the rear yard, but that idea was dropped ahead of the meeting.
Table 12 had the lucky distinction of being called first. There was mostly positive feedback from locals about the application for a wine and beer license, and only a small opposition. The owner, who is apparently well-loved and eager to help neighbors, pleaded near poverty and how this privilege would benefit the business. Table 12 received an approval for wine and beer.