Exclusive: State Liquor Authority recommends against beer garden at Pier-A

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cropped-Pier-A-NW.jpgMay 27, 2014- By Steven E. Greer

BatteryPark.TV obtained via Freedom of Information Law the report written by the New York State Liquor Authority’s (SLA) “500-foot Hearing” committee, which convened a hearing on April 24th, 2014. The author of the report was Administrative Law Judge, Mr. Raymond Di Lugliuo. The report will weigh heavily on the final decision made by the SLA Commissioner, Mr. Dennis Rosen, at the public hearing on June 3rd.

The recommendations in the “500-foot hearing” report, that is now being considered by the Chairman of the SLA, are that the final liquor license for Pier-A should:

A) Not allow dancing inside or outside (in other words, not be a night cub)

B) Not allow outdoor music, either live or via speaker

C) Not allow alcohol to be served on the “plaza” (under construction now by the BPCA, which is what has become known to be the “beer garden”).

Those were most of the key points of the opposition group. The final closing hour, which the applicants want to be at 4:00 AM, seven days a week, remains to be determined, if a license is granted at all.

The report was also complimentary of BatteryPark.TV, stating, “DR. GREER’S OPPOSITION IS SET OUT IN METICULOUS DETAIL IN A WELL WRITTEN AND RESEARCHED MEMORANDUM TO CHAIRMAN ROSEN.”

The meeting starts at 10:00 AM, on June 3rd. The SLA offices are on 125th Street and Lenox, at 317 Lenox Avenue. This is the red line subway stop at 125th Street. The offices are immediately adjacent to the subway.

The public is encouraged to attend and speak at the June 3rd public hearing. However, most people cannot get off work, so instead, you can email the SLA your opinions to dennis.rosen@sla.ny.gov.

The actual text from the 500-foot hearing report is below:

______________________________________________________________________

NEW YORK STATE LIQUOR AUTHORITY 500 FOOT HEARING REPORT

Serial No.: New CR 1277555

Applicant: Pier A Battery Park Associates. LLC

Address: 22 Battery Place, New York, NY 10280

Comm. Board / Municipality: Manhattan Community Board No. 1

Hearing Date: April 24, 2014

Appearances:

For the Applicant: Mr. Joseph Levey, Esq., Mr. Daniel McDonald and Ms. Meagan O‘Malley appeared on behalf of the Applicant. All were sworn. Ms. Ally Calvin was present but did not participate. She was not sworn.

For the Community Board 1 Municipality: No one appeared on behalf of Manhattan Community Board No. 1

Opposition: Steven Greer, MD and Mr. Todd Golub appeared in opposition to the issuance of this license. Both were sworn.

NOTE: DR. GREER’S OPPOSITION IS SET OUT IN METICULOUS DETAIL IN A WELL WRITTEN AND RESEARCHED MEMORANDUM TO CHAIRMAN ROSEN.

 SYNOPSIS:

THE AREA SURROUNDING PIER A AT BATTERY PARK HAS BEEN “DEAD” FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS. AUTHORITIES IN THE FEDERAL, STATE AND CITY GOVERNMENTS JOINED IN AN EFFORT TO REVITALIZE THE AREA. (SEE, EXHIBIT A. OPPOSITION EXHIBIT N0. 1)

PIER A IS ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES AND IS A NEW YORK CITY LANDMARK. MR. LEVEY STATED THAT PIER A [S OF HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE BEING “THE LAST STANDING ORIGINAL PIER IN NEW YORK CITY.” PART OF THE REVITALIZATION WAS TO CREATE A VISITORS‘ CENTER, M– — USEUM, AND EATING AND CATERING ESTABLISHMENTS. WITH REGARD TO THE CURRENT APPLICATION, PRINCIPALS OF THE APPLICANT WERE INVITED TO SUBMIT A “REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL,” WHICH EVENTUALLY RESULTED IN THE APPLICATION AT ISSUE.

Proposed Licensed Premises and Arguments in Support of Application

Submitted as part of the hearing record are copies of’ the 500 Foot Law Statement, Statement of Area Plan, Method of Operation and Establishment Questionnaire forms included in the application. A public interest statement is included in the application. (Authority Exhibit No. I). Messrs. Levey and McDonald stated that the Issuance of this license is in the public interest, in part, because principals of the Applicant were specifically invited by government authorities to submit a proposal for a visitors’ center / museum / eating / catering establishment / public place at Pier A. This resulted in numerous meetings with government officials and the Community Board; eventually culminating in the application for this license. Mr. Levey stated that principals of the Applicant were approached for their proposal because of their substantial successful experience in licensed eating and drinking establishments. (These individuals and the establishments they are licensed in are set out in detail in Exhibit D of Opposition Exhibit No. 1)

The premises will have 3 floors. The first floor will provide casual dining opportunities for the public. The 2″” floor will consist of a number of white tablecloth dining rooms with different NYC historical motifs—police department, fire department, etc. The 3rd floor will consist of a catering facility for private events only. The total capacity of the facility is 1,175. Throughout the facility there will be a total of 115 tables with 697 seats for patrons, There will be a total of 5 bars with 161 seats. There will be live and recorded music and a DJ. Dancing will not be permitted. [IT IS NOTED THAT THE APPLICANT SPECIFICALLY STATED AT THE HEARING THAT THERE WILL NOT BE ANY SPEAKERS OUTSIDE OF THE BUILDING, AND THAT IT WILL NOT OPERATE A BEER GARDEN. HOWEVER, THERE IS NO STIPULATION WITH THE COMMUNITY BOARD TO THIS EFFECT. THE APPLICANT ALSO INFORMED THE COMMUNITY BOARD THAT IT PLANS TO APPLY FOR A (NYC) CABARET PERMIT IN THE FUTURE] There will be outdoor service surrounding the building and in the front yard/ court yard / plaza area. The Applicant also intends to serve alcohol from 7:00 AM to 4:00 AM daily, for 6 months, at which time it will seek approval from the Community Board for these hours on a permanent basis.

IT IS NOTED THAT THIS APPLICATION IS FOR A NY STATE CABARET LICENSE PURSUANT TO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL LAW, SECTION 64-d. MR. LEVEY STATED THAT THE APPLICANT DOES NOT INTEND TO OPERATE A NIGHTCLUB AND DANCING WILL NOT BE PERMITTED. HE STATED THE REASON FOR APPLYING FOR A NY STATE CABARET LICENSE IS BASED ON THE MAXIMUM OCCUPANCY OF THE PREMISES, WHICH IS IN EXCESS OF 600.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS, HOWEVER, THE APPLICANT INTENDS TO EVENTUALLY APPLY FOR A NY CITY CABARET PERMIT.

Position of the Community Board

The Community Board did not appear at this hearing although it was properly notified. The Community Board resolved to oppose the issuance of this license unless the Applicant agrees to comply with certain conditions. The Applicant has agreed. (Authority Exhibit No. 2)

Argument in Opposition to the Application

Mr. Golub withdrew his opposition based on the Applicant‘s assurances that the outdoor plaza will not be used as a beer garden, and that there will be no music outdoors.

Dr. Greer stated that he attended numerous public meetings / hearings regarding this application, including the Community Board hearing that culminated in the March 25, 2014 Community Board resolution. (Authority Exhibit No. 2). Dr. Greer stated that although he was at that meeting, the Community Board would not let him speak. He stated, however, that he submitted a copy of the memorandum, which is Opposition Exhibit No. 1, to the Community Board for their consideration.

Dr. Greer is vehemently opposed to the issuance of this license and has expressed his opposition in a well-researched, written, detailed memorandum to Chairman Rosen. Dr. Greer’s opposition is based, in part, on fears, contrary to the Applicant’s assertions, that:

  • the Applicant will eventually operate “…the largest nightclub in all of Manhattan”
  • the Applicant will use the outdoor plaza as a beer garden;
  • the proposed operating hours will be a detriment to the quality of life for the residents of the area, including traffic issues.

The remaining concerns of Dr. Greer, including his allegations regarding impropriety in the regulatory process in this matter, are set out in detail in his memorandum.

Recommendation

As noted above, the application cannot be approved unless the Authority finds that issuing the license would be in the public interest.

The applicant has agreed to abide by a number of conditions proposed by the Community Board to address the municipality’s concerns regarding the issuance of this license. Those conditions would become part of the approved method of operation if this license is issued, and the applicant would be subject to disciplinary action or possible non-renewal of the license if it failed to comply with the approved method of operation. I have considered the arguments made in opposition to the application. IT IS NOTED IN THIS REGARD THAT THE FOLLOWING ASSERTIONS OF THE APPLICANT ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE CONDITIONS SET BY THE COMMUNITY BOARD:

  • THERE WILL BE NO MUSIC, INCLUDING SPEAKERS, OUTDOORS;
  • THERE WILL BE NO DANCING;
  • THERE WILL BE NO “BEER GARDEN” OUTDOORS

Based on the record before me. I recommend that the application be referred to the Deputy Commissioner of Licensing for a determination as to whether theissuance of this license would be in the public interest or whether to refer this application to the full SLA Board for that determination.

This entry was posted in - City government, - Community Board 1, - Downtown oversight, - Real estate, - State Government, Accomplishments, Art and Museums, Battery Park City and BPCA, Gripes, Restaurants. Bookmark the permalink.

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