BPC residents thwart (for now) chef-driven omakase restaurant

Battery Park City neighbors successfully browbeat the young lawyer for a Japanese restaurant that took the lease at 88 Battery Place (corner of Third Place), forcing him to agree to come back to CB1 in February for his liquor license after he had a chance to listen to neighbors’ concerns. The owners billed Watanabe as “upscale Japanese fine dining” with 74 seats serving a la carte and an omakase (chef’s choice) menu. The restaurant will close at 11, and probably close Sundays and play background music only; the owner’s rep repeated several times that the food is NOT casual. Doesn’t sound anything like the Hudson Club, which tortured neighbors a few years ago, but still, they are prepared for the worst, claiming that it’s a “sensitive spot” because the block is so quiet and residential.

Residents said they didn’t get enough notice, that they were worried about venting, about bothering the kinder at the local preschools, about the quality of life for residents of the Visionaire should what the lawyer called a “subdued” Japanese white-tablecloth come to the ‘hood. “This could potentially be a very noisy place,” said Jim Hopkins, the director of development for Manhattan Youth, who lives nearby.

According to neighbors, the space was formerly occupied by Battery Park City Parks operations, and at one point a real estate office and a ballet school. The last iteration was a preschool that never opened its doors. (Thanks to N. for the snaps.)

 
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12 Comments

  1. These complaints are baseless and pathetic. Sometimes I am embarrassed to be a resident of BPC.

  2. Pity. Neighborhood could use a good sit down Japanese restaurant.

  3. BPC desperately needs new restaurants, there really aren’t many good options and a more diverse choice of food is sorely needed. I don’t understand how or why locals are opposed to this.

  4. If they had simply done better outreach – it would not be as big of an issue – they never even contacted the condo board of the building they are in! If your apartment was on top or next to it or if your kids were in the preschool next door to it you would also have concerns too – where will the kitchen be vented, garbage, sound panels, etc.? There are lots of good places to eat in and around the area, one more will add to it but it needs to be done right.

  5. Those in favor need to walk by Treadwells, any day, including Sunday, from 11 am to 2 am, which was proposed as a “family beer garden” and is instead a daily fourteen hour riot that has taken over the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the rioters are many of the neighbors who enjoy it as an adult fraternity party that never ends.

    • This surprises me, we take our kids here often and have never seen this. It’s usually filled with families or not full at all when we’ve been there.

    • I live across the street from Treadwell at 300 Albany. It’s far from a “riot” and it’s nice to see the combination of families and singles it caters too. I’ve taken my niece and nephew there and gone there to watch football games with friends/boyfriend. Frankly I’m happy to see a business succeed in the “black hole”

    • Hilarious comment. Family beer garden is a spot-on description for Treadwell Park. People host their kids’ birthday parties there. BPC can still be peaceful relative to New York without being deserted – I can’t imagine why someone who would post something so ludicrous about a good-neighbor establishment would want to live in the city at all.

  6. The last iteration of the space was a preschool that was supposed to be an extension of Preschool of America (now renamed MetroKids). The owners of the preschool, Joanna Xiaoping Fan and her husband, are convicted felons from years ago when they used federal funding meant for the kids’ meals to buy themselves huge mansions on Staten Island and high-end apartments in BPC. They have been trying to unload this space for years due to the lack of enrollment at the school, but I’m surprised they are working with a restauranteur and trying to turn this space into something more lively.

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