Report: Spitzer’s Corner Sets Up Sidewalk Cafe on Ludlow Without DCA License

Posted on: April 14th, 2014 at 9:20 am by
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Some vocal residents in Hell Square noted yesterday that Spitzer’s Corner is now operating a sidewalk cafe outside 101 Rivington Street. Four tables were positioned at the southernmost garage-door window on Ludlow Street. Ordinarily this might not be an issue, but there is no permit currently on file with the Department of Consumer Affairs, and a history of denials for this particular address (and its controversial owner Rob Shamlian). Moreover, no city documents are pasted to the windows as per the law.

A tipster alerts us that the manager of Spitzer’s said the bar had been approved by the DCA six months ago, but that the paperwork is still “in the mail.” Sounds iffy, especially after plugging the details into the DCA website and returning zero license results.

Spitzer’s Corner had thrice previously applied for various levels of sidewalk dining. On all three occasions, the problematic nightspot was denied by Community Board 3 and the DCA, successfully thwarted by the collective power of building tenants and the LES Dwellers.

The summary: In June 2008 [PDF], the applicant tried to modify its then-current sidewalk presence to increase overall seating, but was roundly rejected by the community. Shamlian was forced to surrender [PDF] the license to the DCA one year later due to “illegal measurements,” but he reapplied that same summer; that bid was also bulldozed.  And most recently, in June 2013, Community Board 3 upheld its previous denials.

UPDATE: CB3 claims that, despite their earlier denial, the DCA went ahead and approved a sidewalk cafe onsite. Of course, that still doesn’t explain why the address is not in their database.

That resolution [PDF] included the following clauses:

WHEREAS, street and sidewalk conditions around this business have worsened since the previous permit was surrendered, in that the two block area surrounding this premise is so overwhelmed by pedestrian and vehicular traffic and loud noise from patrons and cars as a result of all of the existing licensed businesses, including Spitzer’s Corner, that the 7th Precinct has implemented a practice of closing the streets surrounding this area on weekend nights to insure public safety; and

WHEREAS, approval of a café for this business would further congest the sidewalk as residents of this building and representatives of the L.E.S. Dwellers, a local tenants organization appeared before Community Board #3 to complain that patrons from this business currently overrun the sidewalk around the business and block the residential entrance to 126 Ludlow Street, which is the residential address of this location and against which the proposed café would abut, and

WHEREAS, this business now encourages its patrons to congregate on its sidewalks in that it currently allows its floor-to-ceiling windows along Ludlow Street to be open during operating hours, resulting in patrons standing on the sidewalks in front of this business to mill around its open façade, as well as patron sitting on the ledge of the building where the windows open in order to be served;

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