CB1 Tribeca Committee: The Unofficial Minutes (March 2012)

The new nine-unit building planned for 83 Walker (between Cortlandt Alley and Lafayette)—with a façade that’s an impression of a normal cast-iron building—needs a special permit authorizing waiver of height and setback requirements. The design had already been approved by CB1’s Landmarks Committee and the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the architect is Morris Adjmi, a.k.a. Tribeca’s Favorite Architect™, so the vote was a done deal: 6-0.

84-86 WHITE
The developer of the 33-unit building on White (also between Cortlandt Alley and Lafayette) wants 22 parking spaces in the basement and sub-basement instead of the allotted seven. It’s accessory parking either way, which means it’s for residents of the building, but there was much concern that it would be used as commercial parking. Then a member of the committee asked, “Why are we giving away economic value?” He said he saw what was in it for the developer, but what’s in it for the community? (To which another member said that it would mean fewer people parking on the street and less competition in parking garages.) But the first member seemed to want something more, the way developers have to include schools or public space on huge projects. Eventually, a resolution was proposed that excluded commercial parking and specified who could use the parking spaces. It failed, 2-5.

This is the new Michael White restaurant, The Butterfly. I wrote about it separately.

Max is moving around the corner to the space that was formerly Industria Argentina. Because owner Luigi Iasilli was only asking to serve alcohol till midnight, there was no question as to the outcome, but time was spent nonetheless discussing where Max would park its delivery bicycles. Vote: 8-0.

Matt Abramcyk was on hand to request a liquor license for Maritime, taking over the Ivy’s Bistro space. Ivy’s owner Mike Gibson was on hand to show goodwill and to vouch that Ivy’s liquor license allows for closing hours of 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. The committee pointed out that this is an entirely new endeavor, so it’s not really relevant. Abramcyk said Smith & Mills has been a good neighbor, and Mike confirmed that after some complaints initially (possibly from an obsessed neighbor), there haven’t been many since. The chair asked Matt what he was given for Tiny’s (“Midnight and 1 a.m.,” was the reply. “You guys really banged me up on that one.” Foreshadowing alert….) A public member voiced concerns that Greenwich Street was getting a “Meatpacking vibe.” Abramcyk countered by asking, “Can we do 2 a.m. seven nights? I think you proposed that to someone.” But the committee had already forgotten its conversation about Michael White’s restaurant. I don’t seem to have written down the approved closing hours (I’m guessing it was 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.), but the vote was 7-1.

P.S. The photos are of the floor plans and the menus. Both say Smith & Mills on them, and the entire application says the name is “Smith & Mills Maritime”—but I think it’s just Maritime.

Abramcyk also wanted a permit for five tables (10 seats) of sidewalk-café seating outside Tiny’s on W. Broadway. One member was adamant that the tables not extend farther than the Odeon’s—for aesthetic reasons—and Abramcyk said they wouldn’t, having not spent much time with the plans that had been drawn up. So when it was pointed out that the tables would in fact extend several feet past the Odeon’s, the committee member turned petulant. A public member was worried that smokers congregating outside would be pushed closer to his home across the street. I felt more than ever like I was in the Harper Valley PTA. Sensing, perhaps, that the majority was fine with Tiny’s plans, the chair called a vote. It passed 6-1-1.

“Matt wants to press his luck and go for three!” announced the chair. But the committee was not at all inclined to allow Smith & Mills sidewalk-café seating. Several members were under the impression that the committee doesn’t allow sidewalk seating on streets—well, OK, maybe for restaurants that turn a corner (The Harrison, Locanda Verde, etc.). But not if they don’t. (Some mentioned City Hall, and I coughed, “Marc Forgione! Blaue Gans!”) But to be fair, those are more restaurant than bar, and Smith & Mills can tip either direction, depending on the crowd. Another member was worried that people wouldn’t be able to get their strollers past the tables, even though Abramcyk pointed out that the tables would basically be tucked against a nearly block-wide series of loading docks. He offered to close down the café at 8 p.m., but the vote was 3-5. Then he brought in Super Linda churros for everyone, no doubt wishing he had spiked the chocolate sauce with Ex-lax. Somebody should.

Everyone was too busy eating to listen as Zutto made its case for 10 seats on the loading dock. Eventually the sugar rush subsided, and the vote was 7-0.

“This will be the windiest café ever!” said the chair when the Tribeca Grand announced that it wants to put tables with seating for 42 outside on Sixth Ave. “Diners will blow away!” The hotel shrugged it off, and since no residents are likely to be affected, the vote was 7-0-1. And then the committee realized it hadn’t discussed the closing hours, which were midnight and 1 a.m., so after the vote they informed the hotel that the closing hours would actually be midnight all week.

I still don’t understand what’s what here: The agenda says Ayesha Sushi III is doing business as Hana Sushi, but I think it’s actually Ashiya Sushi. Anyway, it’s that sushi restaurant in Independence Plaza North that has been causing consternation with its all-you-can-eat-and-drink special. A resident of IMP came to list the complaints: extremely drunk young people throwing up, leaning on store windows, screaming that can be heard all over, the pounding of “sake bombs.” (You pound the table until sake falls into a beer, and then you chug.) And sex on the benches outside! It does sound pretty awful, more so if you scroll through the reviews on Yelp. A favorite: “If you’re looking to fall while walking home, then come here. If you enjoy eating a shit load of sushi while chugging beers, then come here. If you’re looking to blackout then pee in a subway station, then come here prior to doing that stuff.” The resident said she wants the liquor license revoked because all efforts to work out a solution have been rebuffed. Problem is, the license was just renewed, and the next renewal isn’t for 10 months (and renewals are when CB1 weighs in). I sort of stopped listening at some point, because it was clear there was no easy answer. Finally, the restaurant owner was told to come back to next month’s meeting—and hopefully he’ll have addressed the situation by then—and a letter to the State Liquor Authority will be written.



  1. Re: AYISHA – But this is Tribeca?! It doesn’t attract a youthful noisy crowd? Right, Stedman?

  2. And clearly Stedman doesn’t remember Buster’s, on Leonard!