CB1 Tribeca Committee: The Unofficial Minutes (October 2015)

I am thrilled to report that these minutes are written and photographed by Deirdre Carroll, a writer and editor who lives in Lower Manhattan. Thanks again!

The committee encouraged everyone to attend the Hudson River Park Trust and CB1 Pier 26 Forum on Monday, October 19, at the Downtown Community Center at 120 Warren, 6:30 p.m., to express their desires for the use of the space.

Corenzo Wilkerson from the NYC Department of Design and Construction gave a presentation on the project to reconstruct one block of Vestry, outlining the specific, historic district–approved details and fixtures that would be used. He also provided a general timeline: after receiving CB1’s support, the project would then move forward on meeting with the necessary utilities agencies in November, and complete the final design in January 2016 with an anticipated start of construction in summer 2016. The committee asked about parking and traffic disruptions, which they were assured would be minimal since it was not a through street. The next concern was construction noise, specifically at night, but since the project has not yet been sent out to bid, the DDC could not assure against that possibility. The committee requested a condition be added to the bid requests that states that nighttime construction/noise not be allowed. The committee also asked how long construction would last once it begun and Wilkerson could not give a definitive answer. The committee agreed to review the presentation and decide whether it would submit a letter of support.

Bar Cyrk would like to alter its liquor license to permit later closing hours and an expansion into its basement. This one caused a lot more debate than I had expected. Bar Cryk owner Eric Schlagman (at left in photo) was on hand to request a 4 a.m. close, seven days a week. Currently, the closing hours are 1 a.m. weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends, and when the committee granted these hours last year, they said he could come back in a year and request later hours to be approved if they received no complaints in that time. Schlagman stated that he is losing business to competitors that are able to stay open later, and though Bar Cyrk does not plan on changing the current posted hours for the most part, they do a lot of private events (corporate events, weddings), and specifically for New Year’s Eve, the later hours would allow them to remain open and not lose the business they currently kick out due their strict adherence to their earlier hours. In addition, they plan on renovating and expanding into the basement to allow for more public and event space. The committee agreed that Bar Cyrk was a “wonderful place,” “quiet,” and had received no complaints, but they “never” approve 4 a.m. closes for bars or restaurants on side streets and did not want to set a precedent by granting one now. The committee had no significant objection to the expansion, provided the establishment received a new certificate of occupancy from the Department of Buildings for the added space, which they were assured would happen.

A compromise was ultimately reached allowing for a 2 a.m. close during the week and a 2:30 a.m. close Friday and Saturday, with a provision allowing all night on New Year’s Eve to save the owner from returning for a special exception for the holiday. Vote to approve: 7-2, with 1 abstention due to the belief that Bar Cyrk should be granted its original 4 a.m. request.

Bob Townley presented on the Hudson River Park Advisory Council. New advisers were elected to the council: Lilac Preservation Project (the historic boat docked on Pier 25), Downtown Little League, and New York Kayak Company in Chelsea. Additional reports found that the bathrooms on Pier 25 are pretty clean, though they can use a quicker repair time when out of service. Townley said to let him know if the restrooms are found not to be usable. The City Winery restaurant proposal for Pier 26 went to the Hudson River Park Trust board on September 29, and he assumed it passed. It is scheduled to open in spring 2016. Pier 25 repair of the pavers is almost near completion. Townley then reiterated the details for the above mentioned HRPT and CB1 Pier 26 forum and proposed that the CB1 Tribeca Committee and the Youth Committee come up with some sort of resolution after that meeting to advise on what they think should be done as far as usage on Pier 26. He personally wanted included that they cannot bury electric lines and pipes like they do in Hudson River Park so that another weather event like Sandy doesn’t cause the same damage and expense to taxpayers to repair. The committee agreed to continue to talk about it next month and will add it to the agenda.

The committee has received many complaints from the residents of 376 Broadway, some of whom were in attendance, that the Harley-Davidson of NYC showroom/dealership is placing motorcycles out in the public plaza and using it illegally for private commercial purposes. CB1 land use consultant Michael Levine initiated an investigation with the Department of City Planning to determine if the plaza is a POPS (Privately Owned Public Space), meaning the building’s developer received a floor-area bonus for the provision of open space that must be left open for community and public use. If so, certain requirements must be met: It has to have trees, benches, lighting, and most important, signage indicating that it’s a POPS. In 1990, the DCP, which came up the POPS requirements, attempted to catalog all the POPS in the city, mostly in Lower Manhattan and Midtown. Unfortunately, they left off several, so over the last few years many communities have been reporting to the DCP that the work was incomplete, and because they are not designated, the rules and regulations are being violated and community usage is being compromised. 376 Broadway, the Harley-Davidson of NYC location, is one of the missing POPS and was overlooked by the DCP, whose records show it is a POPS. CB1 has revised the map and sent it back to the DCP to update. The DCP has now initiated an investigation with the Department of Buildings, for the DOB must demonstrate that the developers had received an approval for extra floor space to build way back in the late 1980s to receive the floor-area bonus but that they haven’t complied with rules and regulations to maintain it as a POPS. [The DOB could start with this PDF on their own website.] Once the DOB verifies that it is a POPS, it will send inspectors out in the field to determine if Harley-Davidson of NYC is violating a POPS. Levine, unfortunately, does not have a date for when the inspection will conclude because the DOB is a “slow-moving vehicle” with many other items on its agenda. CB1 can continue to pressure them but he asked the attendees to send letters/photos to CB1 (man01@cb.nyc.gov) complaining of the commercial use of a public space, specifying the address, and asking for an investigation, that could be forwarded on to continue to press the DOB. Attendees also mentioned that Harley-Davidson of NYC is using orange traffic cones to block parking on White Street; they were told to mention that in the letters as well, although that may be more of a Department of Transportation issue, which had not previously been discussed but was a new avenue for CB1 to explore. A condo owner in the building and member of the condo board who was in attendance clarified that Harley-Davidson of NYC is an owner of the space, owning 10 percent of their condo structure, and that they sit on the condo board. He said he had tried to meet with the owner of Harley-Davidson of NYC twice, having reached him on his cell phone, but that the owner never showed up. He further stated that the condo board is being run by their management company, Bethel Management, who is possibly affording Harley-Davidson of NYC privileges in opposition to the other condo board members and the building’s residents.

Given the number of moving parts, the board expressed a reluctance to intervene until all official channels with appropriate agencies had been pursued. Then a few community members told anecdotal stories of how egregious Harley-Davidson of NYC’s violations and abuses have been, including the removal of trees and bushes to clear the line of sight to their windows without permission, blocking public seating, blocking parking on half the street between Cortland Alley and Broadway, revving of engines (“sometimes 30 to 40 at a time”), driving motorcycles on sidewalks and under awnings, and police inaction.

CB1 said it had already been in contact with the local precinct about the quality of life issues, noise, and riding on the sidewalks, and urged the community to raise the issue to police leadership/executive officers at the 1st Precinct Community Council meeting, “who does not want to hear that issues are not being addressed month after month.”

The committee said they were “on it” and they were going to “follow it.” That they were “sorry to hear all this” and that there were a couple of avenues discussed that they were going to follow. They want to see how it goes in the next month and hope that they see some difference because it is really a “terrible thing and egregious.” “We’ll do the best we can as a group.”

Several liquor licenses/sidewalk cafes were up for renewal/alteration but only those that had received complaints were asked to appear.

RENEWAL: Justin Palmer (far left), owner of The Hideaway at 185 Duane, who was there to renew their liquor license, addressed the noise complaint the board received (from a public board member who lives nearby) due to the bar’s open windows and door late at night and from patrons hanging around outside the bar. The owner agreed to make sure that the windows were closed at 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends and that they would have someone posted outside during special events to keep patron noise down outside. Based on this agreement, 7 board members voted to approve the renewal.

RENEWAL: Nick McKeon (right), owner of Tribeca Tap House at 363 Greenwich, who was there to renew their liquor license, addressed a complaint letter, dated October 8, written by Timothy Wong, president of the board of the 363 Greenwich Street condo association (above the establishment) which stated that patrons of the bar wandered onto their side of the landing, blocked the building entrance, smoked, and were generally rude to residents of the building when asked to relocate. Additionally, the complaint included a concern about the insufficient cleaning of the sidewalk after garbage removal and a fear it would lead to a rat infestation. The letter further went on to say that Tribeca Tap House management has been uncooperative in addressing these issues. No one from the condo board was on hand to address the complaints. McKeon showed the board emails and photos dated back to March 2015 addressing the condo board’s concerns and showing signage and planters the restaurant had installed to corral patrons and discourage them away from the residential entrance and landing. Additionally, he said they swept the sidewalk after garbage removal but did not have a water spigot in the front of the building to hose down the sidewalk to better address the cleanliness issue, but would do a better job of cleaning the sidewalk, including the possibility of rinsing it with water brought out in buckets. The committee seemed satisfied that McKeon had, in fact, been addressing the condo board’s concerns and was not pleased with the condo board’s lack of attendance to address its complaint. They refused to send it to resolution.

It should be noted that, although no complaint had been received against them, a representative of Landmarc at 179 W. Broadway, who was requesting a renewal of their liquor license, attended the meeting and the board appreciated their coming anyway.



  1. Just to note, none of the condo owners in attendance regarding the Harley Davidson issue at 376 Broadway are board members of the building. As a matter of fact, most of the board members don’t even live in the building.

  2. From the DOB website re 376 Broadway

    10/30/2015 A8 ECB VIOLATION SERVED



  3. Harley doesn’t really care about the violations. They still park their bikes on the sidewalk and take over the POPS after receiving the ECB violation. Maybe they consider the fines as costs of operating the business. SMH. Sigh.

    • Someone did chop some cement out of one of the old planters near the corner of Broadway and White, presumably as a probe for replanting.

      DoB is letting HD operate a motorcycle showroom in a retail space contrary to zoning and will not respond to complaints on the matter. Maybe they have an “in” somewhere.