••• A 7-Eleven is coming to Broadway, between Duane and Thomas. This is part of the brand’s massive New York City expansion plan, which includes persuading existing bodegas to convert themselves into 7-Elevens. I find this so depressing.
••• Do you live in 110 Franklin, or do you know someone who does? I have a question. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymity guaranteed.
••• “Additionally, I like TriBeCa quite a lot. Or: ILiTriQui.” I see this on Twitter constantly, so I figured it was a movie or TV quote, but Google isn’t helping me track it down. Anyone know what it’s from?
••• Remember how Luigi Iasilli’s application for sidewalk seating at Max was rejected at last week’s meeting of the Commmunity Board 1 Tribeca Committee because the committee doesn’t allow sidewalk seating on side streets? (Remember how I brought up Marc Forgione, Mr. Chow, City Hall, Blaue Gans, and Benvenuto?) Well, Iasilli fired off a lengthy email to a bunch of downtown news sources. Take it away….
Dear Editors of Battery Park TV, Tribeca Citizen, Tribeca Trib, Down Town Express,
my name is Luigi Iasilli, i am the owner of Max, a small Italian Trattoria (35 seats) located at 181 Duane Street between Greenwich and Hudson. Also, i am a long time resident of Tribeca (since August 2001). I am writing to you today because i like to bring to your attention something that is occurring to myself as restauranteur and, at the same time, to report the same situation as resident of Tribeca.
I recently submitted an application to the City for a sidewalk cafe permit for Max, for a total of three tables and seven chairs. The process also includes, for the restauranteur to attend a meeting at the Community Board. Although the City will have the final decision, the CB will write a recommendation letter. CB1 opposed Max’s request for the following reason: as its policy, no sidewalk cafe permits for food establishments located on side streets. I asked them to consider Max history: i took the space (empty for over thirty years) in March of 2006, it took me almost ten month to build it up, opened for business in January 2007; applied for JUST WINE & BEER License, TURNED DOWN because “a new restaurant in the area would cause more of the following: traffic, noise, cars in double parking, people smoking outside, talking on cell phones, a lot of troubles for the Community”. I submitted a request to the NYS Liquor Authority and, the same day of the hearing, i was approved.
It cost me the first three month of business to operate without a wine and beer License (which means losing customers and money). BUT it COULD cost EVEN MORE to the residents of Tribeca: the “big” risk of having a “monster” 35 seats Restaurant closing at just any hour of the night. Right, because, maybe, a lot of people don’t know, but, once a wine and beer license is turned down by the CB, if approved by the State Commissioner, it HAS NO RESTRICTIONS WHATSOEVER.
And that is the Community Board who represents you all and myself as, both, business and resident.
But my story is just beginning.
The CB suggested to wait even more time before requesting a full Bar Liquor License because they wanted to see how i operate my Restaurant.
I finally got it after four years.
I was told to wait even more time to request the sidewalk cafe permit. So, this past Wednesday, after five and a half years of operation, the Board established that “to be fair to other Restaurants, like Sarabeth’s, Locanda Verde and Smith and Mills (all requested the sidewalk cafe permit on their side streets), needed to oppose Max’s request”.
My establishment is a small space, 35 seats.
Never had any Limo nor other types of cars stationing on double parking. Please, i invite you to take a nightly tour of bars or restaurants in the area, paying particular attention at the same street of Max (Duane) and verifying the amount of cars in double parking, groups of people standing on sidewalk or on street, talking loud or smoking or, as i have heard residents complaining at the same CB1 meeting, “vomiting”.
About the side street “policy”: the exact day after that meeting, i walked in the area and i took pictures of the following food establishments operating with a side street sidewalk cafe permits: Roc, Blaue Gans and City Hall (all three on Duane Street, one of those, Roc, right across the street from Max), Marc Forgione (one block away, on Reade), Mr. Chow, Cafe Buon Gusto (recently closed for business, BUT with a regular side walk cafe permit still sticking on its window). Some of those restaurants opened years after Max (Buon Gusto, Forgione, Mr. Chow). Some of those, got the sidewalk cafe permit this current year or within the past four /five years (Buon Gusto, Forgione, Mr. Chow, Blaue Gans).
BUT, the biggest surprise is yet to come: i took a picture of Locanda Verde SIDE STREET: customers served at tables consuming meals. Remember? One of the case mentioned by the Board to me as example of side street permit been denied…
Max has never had a compliant, formal nor verbal.
In the past six years (Max’s life) many cafes, delis, supermarkets, bakeries, pizzerias, restaurants, bar, hotels, brand new buildings (residential and offices, taking over green lots or parking lots…) have opened in Tribeca. That means more traffic (pedestrian and vehicular), people stationing on sidewalks and streets, smoking, talking loudly, using cell phones. Remember? The same reasons the Board applied to deny Max’s BEER & WINE license almost six years ago, don’t apply for others…
A lot of establishments obtained the FULL BAR LIQUOR LICENSE at first attempt…. But CB1 was concerned about a 35 seats Trattoria…
I have been living in this great community for the past eleven years, serving the same community personally and professionally. The most common comment we receive at Max is a big “thank you” for having brought to Tribeca simple food at affordable prices. Max first opened thirteen years ago in the East Village, the “home” of CB3, the “toughest” in the City. Well, thirteen years without a single compliant!
My kids go to school here, with Max we contribute to the locals Public Schools (School auctions and Taste of Tribeca), the Tribeca Film Festival, etc…
I own and run a 35 seats trattoria, and i asked for THREE TABLES AND SEVEN CHAIRS seating on the existing elevated sidewalk.
Although the Board said that they “needed to be fair and consistent to the other (mentioned) food establishments”, i have been treated unfairly. And i am “gentle” using this word.
As a nice “cherry on top of the cake”, CB1 apologized to me for opposing… An Italian expression: “dopo il danno, la beffa”. Sorry, i am unable to translate this.
I don’t know if i should laugh or cry.
Definitely, it is clear the consistency of CB1 on either opposing just any application or making the final decision harder for Max. But, for sure, the facts talk for itself.
I am including the photo of Locanda Verde side street. Either the Board lied about this specific example, or that specific Restaurant is not respecting the rule. In either case, who has the authority and the responsibility to make sure business and residents are respectful of the rules in Tribeca?
I thank you for your time and consideration.
Actually, he followed it up with another email:
To follow up with my previous email, i just discover two more food establishments with side street seating in Tribeca: Benvenuto (Franklin Str) and Mary Ann (Harrison Str).
I emailed CB1 to see if anyone there could clarify the policy. I’ll update this when
(if?) I hear back. If there’s a moral here—and it may be too late for Max—it’s to attend a CB1 Tribeca meeting before you’re scheduled to present. If Iasilli had heard the committee reject Matt Abramcyk’s request for seating outside Smith & Mills on these grounds, he could’ve approached the committee with evidence rather than following up afterward.
UPDATE: CB1 community liaison Andrew Brokman responded:
Seating on loading docks is exempt from having to obtain a license from the City of New York. In these cases, the loading dock is considered part of the establishment’s private property, and they do not need a license to put out tables and chairs.
As for the policy, while the committee had been applying it for as long as the current staff could remember, the results have not always been uniform. The reason for this inconsistency is mainly due to the fact that CB1 could only make a recommendation to the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), but if the DCA does not believe an obstruction exists, they could go ahead and grant the license without community board approval. Another reason for the inconsistency is that certain licenses may have been grandfathered in from years ago, before the DCA tightened its rules regarding sidewalk cafés.
Also, while this is a general policy not to recommend the licenses of sidewalk cafés on side streets, there have always been exceptions based on individual circumstances, such as the width of the sidewalk, the width of the street, the location and the surrounding neighborhood.