Thursday, January 19, 2006

Upper West Side Resident Bar Hater! Tell me who you are!

So I assume I'm not the only Jake's Dilemma, Brother Jimmy's, Gin Mill, Dead Poet, etc. noise hater around here. I would like to let Andrew Albert of the CB7 transportation committee know more about our complaints but here's the catch. They will not listen that will if you moan, scream, whine or react. They seem to respond and react to more civilized people. Unless I am totally mistaken. I would not mind being a spokesperson or better yet, finding someone who's effective experienced with dealing with government people on dealing with noise complaints to work with us.

So let me know who you are - post a comment here! Tell me where I can reach you, and perhaps we can all work together to deal with these bars and their annoying clientele.

How to Live in a Civilized Way in New York City: Through Much Effort and Failure

So here's the update ...

After the Community Board meeting, I have been calling the Department of Consumer Affairs that handle the public hearings for cafe licenses. I also attended my CB's transportation committee meeting (only could make it to the beginning - had an anniversary with my significant other) and handed my letter of complaint to the chair, Andrew Albert, who's happens to be on the MTA board. He complained that I was not going to be able to discuss the letter, but that he would read it at the meeting. Andrew then recommended that I call the Josh Bocian at the Councilperson's office, and attend the public hearing at the Department of Consumer Affairs. He said that this hearing was the last chance I had to bring my opinion and get the license rejected.

I had no idea what happened, until today. After calling every week for the past month and being told no hearing had been scheduled, the scheduler at the DCA told me that the hearing happened on September 27th - before the community board meeting I attended!

So the license got approved, but is only valid until April 2007, which means that I can't contest it again until next year.

So until then, I'm going to continue living in my partner's place - I'm so glad I don't have to deal with this tiny bar's obnoxious noise for now. But I want to try and take down the cafe licenses of all these bars on my block when they expire next year. Who's with me?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Argh! CB7 Full Board Meeting

Some neighbors and I got to the meeting and there were two developers presenting. It was boooooooring. Two and half hours later, we grabbed a bite to eat. The cafe license was last on the agenda, and we were not even 1/3 of the way through. The bar owner wasn't even there - his architect was representing him (to be fair, the owner's wife was having a baby).

We got back. Meeting's over.


We spoke to Peter Jenkins and some character named Allen after the meeting. They gave us great advice. Penny Ryan, who's the CB7 District Manager, gave me great advice the next day too.

I even called the city 311 and another city department. I've had horrible experiences and wait times with this in the past, but instead I got transferred quickly to the right person. He was incredibly helpful too! Things have certainly changed (I hope).

Lesson learned: even if the bureaucracy fails you, make respectful, productive contact with people. That will not fail.

I'm hopeful.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

An Opportunity: Cafe License application

I live above the Dead Poet at 450 Amsterdam, which has decided to apply for a cafe license. We already have problems with smokers' and drinkers' noise outside our building (sounds like their conversation is in my apartment!) as well as noise coming from the ceiling mounted speakers and A/C.

We have called the bar manager and police - actions that resulted in a 10 minute hush, or nothing at all. One cop told my neighbor, "get someone to beat up the owner, or move!"

On top of that the Dead Poet owner never bothered to let us, the tenants, know about the application, as required. I found out about the cafe license application from my monthly Community Board email (

I went around with a petition to oppose the license, and heard more stories about the Dead Poet cafe noise from 14 people on our block (who all signed the petition).

I'm bringing the petition to the full CB7 meeting that's happening Oct 6. Anyone from the community can speak at the public session. You sign up for 2 minutes.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The General Situation

My neighborhood, Amsterdam between 80th and 82nd street, is an otherwise lovely set of blocks that's home to a number of bars: The Dead Poet, Gin Mill, Jake's Dilemma and Brother Jimmy's. Their patrons clog the sidewalk, fight, block building entrances, and make a lot of #&*$^ NOISE.

I have been a resident of the Upper West Side for nearly 14 years. Many of us have felt that the noise problems from these bars and restaurants have grown, and it's reflected in city statistics.

Turns out the noise complaints in our area has increased almost three-fold since 2002.

In 2002, the number of complaints to the DEP was 715.

In 2005, the number of complaints shot up to 2,096 !!

Links to NYC stats: (enter 81st street & amsterdam ave for our stats)

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