CB1 Tribeca Committee: The Unofficial Minutes (January 2014)

Noreen Doyle, executive vice president of the Hudson River Park Trust, recapped the changes wrought by the Hudson River Park Act. I kind of tuned out since we’d been over this before, but I did catch that they’re hoping to “shortly” issue a request for expressions of interest in the Pier 26 estuarium.

The JCP Downtown took us through its 10-year history and its future goals, which include going from 9,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet, if they can find a suitable space around here for a reasonable price.

Caroline Bragdon, research scientist with the Division of Environmental Health at the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, came to talk about our rat problem. She said they started receiving more complaints around February of 2013, so they did four walk-throughs in the neighborhood over the past year, noticing rat activity around the Chambers construction pit and along Greenwich Street. (Come check out City Hall Park sometime! It’s a ratfest.) Getting nearby restaurants to change where they leave their garbage helped at Chambers, but Greenwich is still a problem, especially up by N. Moore, Beach, and Hubert. Rats apparently like to be “with 450 feet of their food source” and when restaurants are careless with food-scrap garbage, the rats will create burrows and colonies nearby. Addresses that were called out include 372 Greenwich (by which I think she meant the restaurants in Independence Plaza North), P.S. 150, Beach Street Café, and worst of all, 403 Greenwich—that’s the vacant lot next to Kaffe 1668 North, although everyone agreed that Wolfgang’s is the more likely food source. Her group reaches out to business and property owners to try to get them to bait and change their ways, and what you can do if you see rats is call 311 and then pass the complaint number along to CB1, which says it’ll follow up. Bragdon said Josephine had been on their radar for years before the DOH briefly shut it down.) Also of note: Food-service businesses are supposed to have their contracted private carter pick up garbage within an hour of closing.

As we knew from last month, the Lilly O’Brien’s pub is moving from 67 Murray to 18 Murray (the former Taj Tribeca) by the end of January, and even though its current license expires Feb. 28 and the current license shouldn’t be relevant anyway because the owners are new, its lawyer says it needs to renew. Confusion reigned! The committee basically decided it probably had no problem with it but CB1’s staff would untangle it after the meeting.

Back in November, Sazón came before CB1 asking to stay open till 4 a.m., and the committee said to shape up and come back at some later date. But the liquor license is up for renewal this month, and the neighbors have discovered that Sazón is flagrantly ignoring the stipulations in its liquor license (staying open till 4 a.m. now and then, having DJs and dancing), and they complain that the restaurant is still not doing much to discourage patrons from congregating loudly outside. (Or the restaurant might doing something if you call, but the next night you’d have to call again.) “I was there the other night!” volunteered one member of CB1. “It’s a club! I danced, there was a DJ. I got drunk there.” The chair said that Sazón had lost all credibility, and therefore CB1 would recommend that the State Liquor Authority not issue a renewal. The manager of Sazón got rather whingy about it, saying that he was trying and getting no credit, that he didn’t know about the stipulations, that he was new, and that the bad behavior could be from the other bars. (That’s when one neighbor reminded the manager of the time the neighbor called because a drunk patron was rolling around in his own vomit outside on the sidewalk and then going back in and out of Sazón.) “Your job is to know the stipulations, and one year on the job is not new,” pointed out a committee member. “What more do we need to hear?” The chair noted that the SLA would probably not act on the recommendation—it tends to wait for criminal behavior—but if the recommendations keep coming over the next year or two, the SLA might just start listening. Vote: 8-0.

The sculpture by Seoul-based artist Gimhonsok coming to Tribeca Park from May through November will look like this—a trash-bag teddy bear! (Bring your own rats?) The sculpture is roughly 65″ by 65″ and it’s bronze.

Yeah, Flywheel is already open but apparently it’s not unusual for gyms to wait a bit before getting the permit they need to have showers. (The law is left over from the bathhouse days.) One might have expected this to be a quickie, but Flywheel is not being a good neighbor. Residents of 415 Greenwich were on hand to complain about the noise (the poor guy who lives directly above the studio has to hear the amplified motivational efforts of the instructors as early as 5:30 a.m.), and the company had agreed to include the building in sound testing (but it hasn’t), and the company told the building’s board that it’d allow an independent mechanical engineer to look at the facility (but it hasn’t). The lawyer claimed the soundproofing is to code but said he’d talk to the owners. It was decided that the company and neighbors would try to work it out, with the lawyer’s help, and ideally they would come to an amicable conclusion before the main CB1 meeting in 20 days so the committee could caucus beforehand and vote on it.

Nothing about the application has changed since it came up in June of 2012. The delay is because of landlord/tenant issues and Department of Buildings–related complications. Vote: 8-0.

I left before this got discussed because I needed to go check on my gin it was 8 p.m. and I saw no reason it wouldn’t get renewed.

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  1. Speaking of Tribeca rats… There is a growing sinkhole on Duane Street between Church and West Broadway in front of Washington Market School Annex at 134 Duane, on the south side of the street near the curb. Multiple complaints have been made by several different parties via 311, though there’s been no apparent action from any NYC department. The first complaints were somehow incorrectly filed as “water quality” issues with the DEP in July 2013. The hole is now about a foot wide and rats have been observed coming in and out of it at various times. Since that section of Duane was relatively recently repaved (within the last two years), you would think the city would be interested in quickly rectifying the problems that project produced. I guess not.

  2. The rat problem at 403 Greenwich is so bad that I and everyone I know in my building crosses to the Citi side of the street (west side) before reaching Beach so as not to see the multiple critters dodging in and out of the vacant lot. Those rats are fearless; I’ve seen it many times where they don’t even budge when people walk by!

  3. The cab/livery drivers waiting across Greenwich to pick up Citi employees ofter make rat noises as people walk past. They are fearless, the rats on that block that is. Its one of the worst rat colonies I’ve ever seen.

  4. just want to say thanks for the update. hope you enjoyed your gin.