Nightlife Concerns Dominate Meet-and-Greet with New 7th Precinct CO Steven Hellman

Posted on: July 9th, 2015 at 5:00 am by

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Captain Steven Hellman, July 2015

Here he is, your new Commanding Officer of the 7th Precinct, Captain Steven Hellman. So long, Captain Simonetti.

Hellman’s appointment to the post meant a break with tradition – a community council meeting during the sweltering month of July. The climate of the meet-and-greet was cordial, yet sweaty. Serious swamp-ass conditions, thanks to a busted air conditioning system.

Don West, under fire for stifling the community session back in May, introduced the CO to the audience of neighbors, local politicians, and Community Board 3 (Susan Stetzer and Gigi Li). His experience in similar areas was championed. Hellman also spoke of his resume, noting that his work in the 9th Precinct (East Village) with its 600 liquor licenses dutifully prepared him to tackle the over-saturation around the Lower East Side. The speech felt like a presidential campaign.

But the pleasantries and back-slapping was brief, quickly getting down to the brass tacks. Chiefly, nightlife. A strong showing from the LES Dwellers voiced concerns about problem establishments in Hell Square that aren’t playing by the rules. Epstein’s Bar, in particular, was singled out for its lack of valid Certificate of Occupancy and debt of some $60,000 to the city for various DOB violations. The block association implored the new CO to dispatch the cabaret team to the list of bars without such certificates, since, they argue, the State Liquor Authority takes these infractions more seriously than community complaints.

Another issue raised was the hour of mass exodus, that magical time between 4am and 5am. This is when lots of bad shit happens, and, the LES Dwellers argue, the oversight simply ceases. Hellman, for his part, promised that he’ll conduct of drive-by of a Hell Square weekend night.

We’d be remiss not to mention the residents of Samy Mahfar’s 102 Norfolk Street who were in attendance. Their concern before the 7th Precinct was more to do with the Back Room club in the basement and its allegedly illegal operation, and not so much the actions of their infamous landlord.

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