MTA Brushes off Vehement Local Opposition to ‘Gracias Mama’ Entrance on Rutgers Street

Posted on: August 26th, 2016 at 5:00 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

The MTA sees nothing wrong with having a restaurant entrance mere feet from a bustling subway station. Specifically that of Gracias Mama, whose principals (Koorosh Bakhtiar and Nima Garos) are trying to alter their method of operation, which could become a harbinger of overcrowding in a small area.

The bold choice to move the front door of Gracias Mama closer to the F line subway entrance – the old Chinese newsstand – was basically an admission that the establishment sits within 200 feet of St. Teresa’s church at 16-18 Rutgers. It’s a sly maneuver to escape the additional scrutiny, but one that will likely contribute to crowding in this spot.

This is the main concern of a grassroots community coalition – LES Dwellers, the Orchard Street Block Association, the Knickerbocker Tenants Association, and Residents of Two Bridges. The new entrance sits directly above the heavily trafficked stairwell of the East Broadway station, and it shares the sidewalk with a bus stop for the southbound M9. Furthermore, there are a total of nine known intercity bus depots operating – both legally and illegally – within two blocks, unloading thousands of customers who rely on both of these public transportation access points. There is a constant flow of humanity at any given time with luggage, strollers, wheelchairs, goods deliveries, etc.

This image has been archived or removed.

The MTA doesn’t have a problem with the proposal, though. “This is not a situation unique to this business or street or subway entrance,” the agency told The Villager in a statement. “We have subway entrances throughout the city, and we have businesses whose entrances are close to those subway entrances, and both have co-existed peacefully. We have visited this particular location and found nothing that raised concerns.”

Regardless, Koorosh Bakhtiar and Nima Garos are moving forward with controversial plans for their taqueria at 162 East Broadway. The Department of Buildings issued permits earlier this month (but pasted to the site this week). Work is for “General construction consisting of the removal of interior non load-bearing partitions, cosmetic finishes, existing plumbing fixtures, and storefront work.”

Needless to say, the alteration went before Community Board 3 two months ago, and scored approval. A 500-foot ruling at the State Liquor Authority is also forthcoming.

(There’s also a petition of protest if you’re so inclined.)

Recent Stories

Construction Resumes at 139 Bowery, Awaiting 14-Story Payload

There is finally construction activity to report at the 139-141 Bowery development site. The spot has been largely dormant ever since the double-wide walk-ups were summarily razed three years ago. With the area now buzzing, the march toward a fourteen-story future continues. Plans to redevelop the properties, in one form or another, date back to […]

Partybus Bakeshop Soft Opens on Essex Street

The Partybus is parked on Essex Street and now serving. The new bakeshop – situated directly across from Seward Park – soft opened to the public yesterday. Founded by baker Jacqueline Russo Eng, Partybus Bakeshop got its start in the nearby Hester Fair before going brick-and-mortar at 31 Essex. It offers a “rotating seasonal menu […]

Little Gio’s Pizza Expands with Orchard Street Outpost

An East Village pizzeria is making its way south into Hell Square. Little Gio’s, which currently holds down a parlor on 1st Avenue, just announced its expansion a few blocks south to 194 Orchard Street. The five-year-old business took over, and installed the requisite signage atop the shuttered gate. The space had been vacant in […]

This is the Car Horn Every Pedestrian Needs [VIDEO]

In a world driven by technology, here’s a welcomed, albeit impractical, analog solution to a maddening pedestrian problem. We’ve all had to deal with it at one point or another. An indecisive three-wide, ambling past a restaurant. Sidewalk selfie snappers. Tourists in herd formation. iZombies. Children walking irrationally. There’s only so many times you can […]

Cherry Street Hockey Rink Resurfaced with Turf Field

Street hockey players in the city, but the Lower East Side especially, are now short-handed. The ever-reliable Tanahey Playground rink on Cherry Street is officially gone. The city removed the rotting boards and benches last week, and completed carpeting the concrete with AstroTurf. As first reported last summer, the space was repurposed to accommodate organized […]