CB1 Tribeca Committee: The Unofficial Minutes

In order of interest to me….

After some confusion about whether this topic was discussed last month, the lawyer for the new potential tenant said, “The lease is coming Thursday and we’re signing it.” (This was news to the people who planned on opening a Marlow & Sons–esque restaurant in the space that used to be children’s furniture store Blue Bench.) The new folks are Kathryn Weatherup and Michael Maddy, who already have a bar called Weather Up in Prospect Heights (Brooklyn). Weather Up Tribeca would be—according to the materials handed out—”an artisanal cocktail bar paired with a sophisticated Raw Bar” with “hand-cracked ice,” “vaulted subway tile ceiling,” “kid leather banquettes” (er, this neighborhood would probably respond better to a different phrasing), “polished bronze bar,” and “vintage heart pine flooring.” It’ll have an occupancy of 74, with 50 seats, including those at the bar. Weatherup wanted 2 a.m. closing on weekends, but the committee preferred 1 a.m. seven days a week. Vote: 8–0. Here’s the proposed floor plan:

“You have the rudest people working for you,” said the committee chair in kicking off the discussion of Locanda Verde‘s request for more sidewalk seating. “When you opened, you said there would always be seats available for locals—just mention that you live in the neighborhood. But it’s always 5:30 or 11 p.m.” He then told how once, when he and his wife suddenly found themselves liberated from child care for the evening, he called to see if the restaurant could take them, and was told, “If you come right now.” Seven minutes later, they arrived to be told that the wait was 45 minutes. (OK, I’ve been waiting for someone to bring this up. A few months ago, I called to reserve, and I got the 5:30 or 11 line. I said, “Do you hold table for locals? I read that somewhere.” And the reservationist said, “Yes, we have seats at the bar.” I love Locanda Verde’s food, and good for them for being popular, but they need to drop this holding-tables-for-locals hooey.) In any event, Locanda Verde’s Joshua Pickard (standing in the photo above), handled it pretty well, saying, “That’s why we need more café seating.” The restaurant wanted to go from 20 to 68 sidewalk seats, from 10 to 34 tables, all along the Greenwich Hotel‘s façades on Greenwich and N. Moore. And it wanted to do two rows of tables. According to one committee member, who said he has gone in to complain about it, the restaurant’s planters are too close to the street already. It was decreed that Locanda Verde may add four tables to N. Moore and five on Greenwich, for a total of nine on N. Moore and ten on Greenwich. Vote: 8–0. (“And tell your people to be nice to the neighborhood!” said the chair.)

This is basically a done deal, so there isn’t much point in belaboring it. In the mid-90s, southern Tribeca was rezoned to make it more residential, but northern Tribeca wasn’t. Once the new zoning goes through, it’ll be much easier for residential projects to get built, with restrictions on the size and height (and on the retail spaces—10,000 square feet on wide streets and 5,000 square feet on narrow ones). Some light manufacturing—jewelery-making, woodworking, etc.—would be allowed. Developers like it, the board likes it, everyone likes it. (“So no more Truffles?” asked on committee member. “Well, yeah, hopefully,” replied the chair.) Vote: 8–0.

A rep from the Department of Transportation explained how the organization has been studying parking in Tribeca—defined as Canal to Chambers, West to Church—in order to get regulations up to speed with the changes that have occurred here in the past decade. Among other things, they’re looking at obsolete curbcuts (for loading docks that no longer function as such, for instance). The goal is to get new regulations in place before the big Hudson Street DEP third-tunnel project starts in late summer/early fall. The rest of CB1 will follow, hopefully by the end of the year. (An aside: One committee member, in complaining about brazen drivers somewhere, brought up the trope of “women with baby carriages,” as if they’re helpless. I like a mother as much as anyone, but it’s time to stop thinking of them as helpless when they’re anything but.)

You have to feel a little sorry for the owner of Salaam Bombay; a committee member lives above his restaurant, or at least near its vent. Consequently, the board used the restaurant’s liquor-license renewal as a reason to grill the owner about the cooking odors that torment certain residents. On the other hand, the owner has evidently promised in the past to do something about it, and despite spending $5,000, little has changed. He promised once again, even though it may mean spending $30,000. What the committee might do beyond writing a “sharply worded letter” is an open question.

••• Blaue Gans sidewalk café: The permit allows for eight tables (with 16 seats), and those benches are goners.
••• Kaffe 1668 beer/wine license: The café wanted—and got—a beer/wine license that allows it to stay open till 11 p.m., though the owner said that 10 p.m. was just as likely to be the actual closing time. Beer and wine will be served from 5 p.m., and from what he said the food will stay the same as it currently is.
••• Tribeca Cinemas alteration of liquor license: The establishment is “downsizing” its lower-level bar, and the new license reflects that.
••• Raccoon Lodge liquor-license application: A woman who has worked at the bar since the 1990s is taking over, so she needs a new liquor license. Raccoon Lodge seems like a place that should give neighbors fits—it’s open till 4 a.m., and located on a highly residential street—but it doesn’t.
••• Street activity permit for New York City Rescue Mission: The mission wants to close the sidewalk and part of the street on Lafayette between Walker and White on Monday, Nov. 22, for its 11th-annual something-or-other event.
••• MaryAnn’s—which just got a liquor license for its new space—requested a permit for sidewalk seating that’s 30 percent smaller than Yaffa’s was. There will be 12 tables with 38 seats. (One member, insisting that the restaurant was extending its seating past what was legally allowed, threatened to go “tape it” after the meeting.)
••• Landmarc sidewalk café permit: renewed.
••• 44 Lispenard: The owner of the fifth-floor apartment wants to add a penthouse, invisible from the street. The committee had already agreed to a two-level addition, but landmarks sliced it in half, so it was back for another approval.
••• Transportation issues: To be honest, I’m not entirely sure I followed this. (You’re not allowed to stop and ask questions, just so you know.) From what I can tell, the committee agreed to recommend that “don’t block the box” signs be posted at Canal and Greenwich and the northeast corner of Hudson and Ericsson; that a stop sign be placed at Washington and Watts; and that a stop sign—one-way, southbound—be placed at Greenwich and Watts.



  1. 1) Smells: Salaam Bombay doesn’t smell half as bad as passing by Nobu in the mornings – and they are high end, you would think you wouldn’t smell a thing.
    2) Boxes: They should really look into adding a box to Leonard and Hudson. That place is chaos at any point of high traffic.

  2. Natalie, email cb1 – man01@cb.nyc.gov and make that suggestion to the tribeca/transportation committee, because you are right, that corner is chaotic in high traffic (I’m on the tribeca committee and will mention it to them, but it’s always good when the community chimes in)