CB1 Tribeca Commitee: The Unofficial Minutes (October)

Chef Roberto Passon and his wife Tanya Passon are opening Terra Wine Bar—as you read here—in the old Franklin Station Café space at 222 W. Broadway. (Is anyone else anticipating confusion between Terra and Terroir?) The menu is mainly cicchetti, basically the Venetian word for nibblybits, and pastas; the Passons evidently didn’t get the memo that Tribeca wine bars just don’t have glasses of wine for under $10. (Before opening Aria up on Perry Street, Passon was once chef at Roberto Passon in Hell’s Kitchen and Le Zie in Chelsea, among other restaurants.) The application was for 2 a.m. closing seven days a week, which the committee probably would’ve gone for, except it was noticed that the petition signed by neighbors stated the closing hour on weekdays (Sunday–Thursday) as midnight. Passon’s choice was to accept midnight on weekdays or get new signatures and come back in a month; he chose the former. I’d assume they’ll be back in six months, once they’ve proved to be good neighbors, to request later hours. Other details: Terra will be open for lunch; the Passons have signed a lease; and they plan on outdoor seating (22 seats at 11 tables). Vote: 6-0.

The hotel’s original liquor-license application (which was approved) included plans for a bar downstairs, next to the screening room, that never happened; the hotel would now like to add it. The Tribeca Grand would also like to create a new “back room” bar on the ground floor, where Walker meets Sixth. (Floor plans are at left; click to enlarge.) The lawyer said the ground-floor lounge/restaurant had been updated recently, and as part of that ongoing effort, they wanted to “formalize” a bar there (it seems to have been used for private dining). The committee, with the exception of one member, didn’t seem to realize to what extent the hotel becomes a nightclub, but since no one from the area complains—if they’re even bothered by it—the committee saw no reason to object. Vote: 7-0. P.S. Have you ever seen anyone sitting in that new outside area on Sixth?

Nothing is changing. Vote: 9-0.

Capri Caffé was owned 50/50 by two people, and now it’s owned by just one of them. The two parties couldn’t agree on whether or how to use the name going forward, hence a new entity, Sole di Capri (Capri Sun). If I understood this correctly, manager Eduardo is romantically involved with the current owner. Vote: 8-0.

At least one member is upset with Fresh Direct using W. Broadway (between Franklin and Leonard) as a parking spot from which to deliver groceries around the neighborhood; he would prefer if they owned a garage in the area. (“There are no garages anymore,” replied the chair. “They’re all condos!”) The question was whether the trucks were idling their engines (illegally) as well as running their refrigeration units (legally), especially now that the weather is getting chillier and the workers need a place to hang out. Another member declared that “People want the services but they don’t want the inconveniences,” calling the community “entitled”—true dat—which inspired another member to pronounce, “As the neighborhood grows, it just sucks more and more.” Eventually the chair decided that there appeared to be enough interest in the topic to warrant a conversation at the December meeting.

Detailed here.

This was discussed—and approved—last month, but the full committee sent it back to the Tribeca Committee for reasons unknown. In last night’s discussion, one member was concerned that because of the merging automotive traffic, there might be trouble if cars stopped to buy gum at the newsstand. He wanted it moved to a different corner than the southwest one, but his concerns went unshared. Vote: 7-1.

Because of the recent brouhaha about Smith & Mills and Tiny’s, the committee wanted clarification about why the city council would approve a sidewalk-café permit when CB1 has denied it. Councilmember Margaret Chin’s director of land use and planning, Matt Viggiano, came by to talk about it. I’ll spare you the full recap, but—if I followed—the city council can only deny such applications if there’s a reason involving land use, so CB1 Tribeca’s criteria for sidewalk cafés (not on side streets except on corners) doesn’t really hold water. (The city council can, however, insist on modifications.) The thing is, most restaurants don’t pursue the matter beyond CB1, probably because they tend not to hire lawyers for sidewalk permits the way they do for liquor licenses. If I were a certain local restaurant that can’t seem to get the seating it wants, I’d get a lawyer—and a spot on the city council agenda—quickly.



  1. As the neighborhood grows, CB1 just sucks more and more.

  2. Re: the newstand location – I believe the point about the merging traffic at Leonard, where Varick and W. Broadway merge is a valid one. As a driver, I always am prepared for that merge – especially when driving down the busier Varick St. If there is a car parked or a lane closed (like there was for a long time with the construction on the new Starbucks corner), it can be a real ‘crunch.’ If cars get in the habit of stopping there to make a gum or even a candy bar or newspaper pickup, we could see a lot more fender benders in that area. Let’s hope for the best…

  3. Jim Smiters???

  4. @STH-whoa, good catch!
    Is that a fake Smithers?

  5. You know you have made it when there are imposters…

  6. As the neighborhood grows, CB1 just sucks more and more and so does my typing.

  7. when is terra looking to open?