CB1 Tribeca Committee: The Unofficial Minutes

The folks who live and work on Hudson between Franklin and N. Moore are upset because the construction workers on the Hudson water-main project are using the “taper area”—where traffic gets funneled down to two lanes—for the storage of materials. Starting at 7 a.m., workers are making a lot of noise, not just moving materials but also cutting stuff. The residents who were there pointed out that their block is also set to be under actual construction at some point, and so they’re hoping they can persuade the committee to recommend moving the storage area elsewhere; after all, their block is the only one to get the brunt of five full years of construction-related noise. At some previous meeting I managed to avoid, alternate storage areas were suggested, and all but two had problems with them. They were all debated again last night anyway. Ideally, the storage area could be placed on Ericsson, but the Department of Design and Construction reps said the police precinct will never give up their parking. Everyone acknowledged how idiotic unfortunate it was that the sidewalk on Hudson west of the Holland Tunnel rotary was just renovated, because that area would have been perfect. The residents who showed up—that’s one standing in the photo—were very rational about the problem, explaining that they understood that the storage had to be near the project and that it wasn’t fair to move it to a block that would also be under construction at some point. They thought it would be reasonable, then, to move it to N. Moore between Hudson and Varick. Committee members wondered whether that street should have to be affected by the construction if it wasn’t going to benefit. Residents countered that everyone downtown would benefit from the water-main work, even if their street wasn’t re-cobblestoned. It was decided that the committee couldn’t afflict N. Moore with the storage without letting the residents there have their say, so the room braced itself for another meeting in January. (If you live on that block, start writing your speech.) Meanwhile, the committee is going to reach out to the NYPD, even though the DDC team made it clear that pigs would fly—no pun intended!—before that worked out.

Mr. Bouley himself showed up to discuss Boji (formerly and/or occasionally known as Brushstroke), the Japanese restaurant going into the old Secession/Danube space at Hudson and Duane, but the committee only really cared about soundproofing, and his precautions were deemed acceptable, helped along by a closing time of 11 p.m. The vote was 6–0. Snoopier people—like me!—will be interested in the details that were in the application. The restaurant will seat 86 people. There are three set menus: four courses ($60), seven courses “and dessert” ($95), and the “menu artisanal” ($130). As is the Bouley way these days, the menu is extensive, with sushi, tempura, rice and noodle dishes (including handmade soba), cooked fish, cooked meat, a vegetarian page, and my favorite, “Japanese Dainty,” which featured options such as “home made half dry Bottarga,” “Herring Roe with Konbu-Seaweed,” and “Snow Crab with Lobster Tmalkey” (any guesses what that last word means?) One of the signature dishes at the old Upstairs, homemade tofu with truffled dashi sauce (which Bouley also served at last year’s Taste of Tribeca), is on the menu. Last we heard, Boji is scheduled to open in February.

Benvenuto, the café/deli at the corner of Franklin and Greenwich (where New York Steak & Burger briefly was), would like to serve alcohol. The discussion got distracted by whether the café would be applying for sidewalk seating, and not even Benvenuto’s lawyer seemed to realize it had been applied for in September. (Read my minutes!) In any event, the motion passed 6–0 with closing hours of midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends. Sidewalk seating, alcohol…. The owner clearly wants to make it a real restaurant, but am I the only one who looks at it and see Boar’s Head?

The long-planned chocolate café at 50 Hudson—where Paul Kohn Design was—has been rethought. The residents across Hudson were worried about noise keeping their children awake, which always struck me as a bit rich given that Hudson is a wide street, it wasn’t as if hockey players were opening the restaurant, and 60 Hudson makes more noise than Glenn Beck. Nonetheless! The ever-sensitive owner of the entire building, Eric Schlagman, wanted to avoid a fight, and moved the entrance around the corner, on little-traveled Thomas. He said it’ll be a smaller space than planned (which naturally makes one me wonder what’ll happen to all the Hudson frontage). He also changed the concept. “There will still be chocolate,” he told the committee, “but we’ll be more focused on baking. We have an amazing baker.” Sure enough, the menu lists focaccia and “stuffed bread,” sandwiches (one was grilled eggplant, ricotta salata, and greens), soups, pastries (chocolate covered pretzel bread!), and gelato. The restaurant, which may or may not be called Emporio 50, seats 50 in 1,200 square feet. Schlagman is asking to sell beer, wine, and liquor, with occasional live music (acoustic only, from solo performers to trios), and wanted closing hours of 1 a.m. Sun.–Thurs. and 2 a.m. Fri.–Sat., which his lawyer knew wouldn’t fly (midnight and 1 a.m. were agreed on). Things got a little confusing around this point, and I’m not sure if the committee still had a quorum, because one member left. For some reason the committee got nervous about what the neighbors would think—one member seemed to know someone who lived across the street—and even though the point of this meeting was for neighbors to come and voice concerns and no one had, it was decided that they would vote but with the understanding that neighbors could come to the full CB1 meeting and object, if they wanted. The vote was 3–0–2, and the reason for the abstentions was unclear. I’m baffled: If a café/bakery on this corner—at the intersection of a wide street and a desolate one—can’t get a liquor license, who can?

Previous Unofficial Minutes:
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010



  1. excellent notes! I couldn’t make the meeting and now feel like I’ve been there :)

  2. I was at the December CB1 TriBeCa meeting and made the comment that everyone was getting the benefit of a new water pipe at the expense of the unfortunate few.  I live on the part of N. Moore west of Hudson Street which is slated for 2.5 years of construction to lay new pipe and get new cobblestones.  While no resident wants a construction project in front of their doorstep, it is totally unfair for the block between N. Moore and Franklin to be affected for 5.5 years.

    I was surprised to learn that the N. Moore block east of Hudson Street was not slated for new cobblestone but that the block west of Greenwich Street in front of Citigroup was.  That makes no sense. From a historical perspective, if the city is going to spend $1 million to lay new cobblestone, it should be on the historic block of N. Moore east of Hudson Street.  That way, the residents there might agree more readily to share the pain and allow the storage to be moved onto a small portion of their block.