CB1 Tribeca Committee: The Unofficial Minutes (April 2012)

The developer of 84-86 White was back to try and get 15 more underground parking spaces to go with the seven as-of-right ones. Last month, a resolution was passed in opposition, mainly because the developer couldn’t guarantee there’d be no non-resident cars parking there and at least one member had a notion that “we should get something” for giving away economic value. (But the full CB1 committee tabled it at the developer’s request.) The developer’s environmental consultant, a deer in the headlights last month, was much better prepared this go-round. He said the parking would be for residents only, and he brought the results of a parking study that concluded that adding spaces underground would free up street parking. Once again, the “we should get something” idea was broached, and I got to wondering how many members of the committee have cars, because it felt to me like a we’ve-got-ours-don’t-worry-about-theirs situation. Finally, one member authoritatively pointed out that the committee doesn’t ask for something every time someone wants to add a penthouse or throw an event or whatever, and that allowing the parking—which costs the neighborhood nothing—will raise the property values, which will bring in more property tax. The vote was close: 5-4 to allow it. P.S. One member announced that the Provenzano garage on Leonard (next to 34 Leonard) would soon be developed, but I think he meant the two single-story industrial garages across the street? If anyone knows about that, email me.

If possible, when presenting to the committee you should bring along an attractive woman or two, because many of the members get positively giggly when posing their questions. That was the case with Aqua Studio, a new aquatic-fitness facility coming to 78 Franklin (between Church and Broadway). The owners, at least one of whom is European, are taking the ground floor and the two floors below it; the 12-by-28-foot pool will be in the subcellar, with two massage-treatment rooms on the cellar floor, and a “lounge area” on the ground floor. We didn’t learn much about what the classes would be like—I’m imagining something aquarobics-y, seeing as how the maximum 15 guests per class can’t do much else in a pool that size. A new member of the committee asked whether there would be discounts for seniors and access for the less economically advantaged to use the facility; the lawyer, bless his heart, adeptly deflected the question (“That’s the kind of input we look for in meetings like this”). Vote: 9-0.

MaryAnn’s agreed to move its planters, and the motion was passed 9-0.

An example of the artist’s work

The Real Stories Gallery at 36 Laight (the part of Laight that’s near the Holland Tunnel footbridge) wants to create an art piece on the cobblestones out front on Sunday, July 1. The art will either be chalk or printed and laid down (if the weather forecast is grim), and the idea is to raise awareness about sexual violence again men and boys. The committee worried about traffic implications, but the concerns abated when they realized which block it was. Seeing as how it’s the Sunday before July 4—which is on a dreaded Wednesday this year, FYI—it’s hard to imagine many cars (or people?) will be around anyway. Vote: 9-0 (at least I think it was 9-0; I lost track of how many committee members there were, and the tally isn’t always announced). P.S. The Real Stories Gallery is open if you find yourself on that block. I poked in the other day, but I couldn’t tell whether I was supposed to be inside because it’s sort of a repurposed narrow lobby.

No representative from the Odeon showed up, so it was laid over.

All Good Things’s sample menu (click to enlarge)

The food-hall-and-restaurant you read about here was applying for its liquor license, but the requested hours of 2 a.m. (Sunday through Thursday) and 4 a.m. (Friday and Saturday), were met with grimaces, although consideration was paid to the fact that the restaurant would be in the basement, the tenants above are all commercial, and the neighbor to the east is a parking lot. The committee shifted into full nitpick mode (the new member mentioned above asked whether the market could accept food stamps, leading All Good Things proprietor Kyle Wittles Wittels to say that if anyone came in with food stamps he would give them the food). The committee was prepared to insist on 12 a.m./1 a.m., and the restaurant could come back and request a change, but members couldn’t remember whether they tend to say people can return in six months or a year. So they decided on nine months and allowed 1 a.m. seven days a week. Vote: 9-0. P.S. I think I heard someone say the restaurant’s opening was looking more like September.

You learn something one thing max new every day: The Swedish mini-chain Fika is pronounced Fee-kuh. It’s opening in the southern half of the Truffles Tribeca retail space (along Washington); the northern half, according to Fika co-owner Lars Akerlund, will be a “private gym.” Fika will be a café with light bites and lots of chocolate, and it’ll serve beer and wine till 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. Vote: 9-0.

Paolo Meregalli of Grupo Meregalli, an Italian wine producer and distributor, arrived ready to explain how he was planning to open a sophisticated wine bar and restaurant at 279 Church, the brick building where the Fig Theater was (just south of White & Church). But the neighbors were up in arms because the CB1 agenda had mistakenly listed the address at 273 Church, and they only realized it yesterday. (They should read Tribeca Citizen more regularly.) I’m not sure if more than one neighbor was at the meeting, but others had written in that they were concerned it was going to be noisy and a problem, as previous tenants had. (“I don’t want to be punished for the previous tenant’s mistakes,” said Meregalli.) Also, that block is saturated with restaurants and bars. The neighbors wanted it held over till next month so they could analyze the application and mobilize against it, if necessary. They said that there was no flyer about the CB1 meeting posted to the door, at least not yesterday. (Meregalli had taken a photo of when it was posted, but that wasn’t enough.) Frankly, it all seems sort of like a teapot tempest once you read the description of the place (click images above) or check out the website of the Mulino a Vino in Monza, outside Milan; it seems unlikely to be rowdy, and I have no doubt it’ll pass when it comes up next month. Let’s hope the neighbors and Meregalli can find a way to work together.

Center: Masaharu Morimoto

Chef Masaharu Morimoto was in the house! His loooooooong-gestating restaurant, Tribeca Canvas (or maybe not, because it was listed on the new agenda as “dba TBD”), in the old Dennis Foy space at 313 Church, is back on track after “building, contractor, and investor issues.” The application received unanimous approval in September of 2009 even though the closing hour was 4 a.m. So much time has passed that the restaurant needed to refresh its application, but in recent years CB1 Tribeca has been adamant about not allowing 4 a.m. unless it’s earned with good behavior. Should members insist on a change? After some debate—and an allowance for Morimoto’s standing and because it’ll be “high end” (never mind the bagels, fried dumplings, and bibimbop on the menu)—the committee voted 7-0 (did two members leave?) to approve the application as submitted.

Long story short: The liquor-license paperwork for Woodrow’s basement bar wasn’t in order due to an oversight by the previous tenant or two. Vote: 7-0.

The deli wants to serve beer. Vote: 7-0. (Oddly, the owner said it was at Reade, but it’s between Thomas and Worth.)

Some neighbors complained in writing (they didn’t show up) that the bouncer outside 20Twenty is too chatty with the patrons, holding court with groups that get loud. The owner said they’ll “terminate him” if he doesn’t shape up.

The following items were on the initial agenda but dropped by the time of the meeting:
• The Chipotle at 275 Greenwich
• The Beaujolais Nouveau Day permit
• The restaurant at 88-90 Reade (formerly Mike’s Papaya)



  1. Thank you for the information. Being a loft tenant, I have major issues with this quiet residential corner becoming the NYC bar hub. I am a resident of 279 Church and I would like to be present at the next meeting to voice my concerns on the wine bar. Note that there are 4 Bars on this block already. I came out this morning to find vomit on my doorstep. I constantly have to ask people to refrain from smoking in my doorstep vestibule at night. I would love to propose a smoking ban in front of this block. The patrons can have an enjoyable time inside these bars, but please don’t bring it on the street and on my doorstep.

  2. @Robbie: The Tribeca Committee tends to meet on the second Wednesday of the month (at 6pm), so you should assume for now that it’ll be May 9.

  3. Is it me or did Paolo Meregalli have the longest, thickest eyelashes ever known to man?

  4. Thank you Erik. I’ll Be there.

  5. Eric, are non-TriBeca Cizns allowed to go to meetings?