Gramercy Park Block Association - Neighborhood News #145

Another Victory in the Fight to Preserve 
the Peace and Safety of Our Neighborhood, and We Owe It To You, Our Neighbors on Gramercy Park and the CB6 BASA Committee


First, it was warding off a bar at 38 Gramercy Park North, whose basement will now be leased to a low-profile jewelry shop.  Then, last night, success in the fight to keep a bar called Redneck Romeo out of 274 Third Avenue (between 21st St & 22nd St) in the spot formerly occupied by Black Bear Lodge.


The most recent battle was fought at last night's meeting of CB6's Business Affairs & Street Activities (BASA) Committee.  In response to the three e-mails sent by our Gramercy Park Block Association to hundreds of our neighbors on Gramercy Park and the hard work of a core group of our neighborhood team, many who couldn't attend the meeting sent letters, which became part of the record. Dozens of our neighbors showed up in opposition to the proposed new bar, which was to be owned by the former manager of the notorious Vudu Bar & Lounge.  Several spoke out forcefully in opposition to any new bar in that space and most particularly to a new bar whose management had already demonstrated contempt for the community. (City Council Member Jessica Lappin described Vudu as "a bad neighbor for years" and reported that "my office has tried to work with them repeatedly and yet they persist with the same behaviors.")


The result was a unanimous BASA vote to oppose a liquor license for Redneck Romeo and some very gratifying speeches by BASA Committee members acknowledging that our stretch of Third Avenue is a "problem spot" that doesn't need ANY more bars, redneck or otherwise. 


Sadly, despite last night's victory, the battles are never truly over.


After a majority of our people left the meeting, three men showed up to "meet the neighbors and answer any questions" about their proposal to install a comedy club/restaurant at 239 Third Avenue, between 20th and 19th streets - the site of two previous very bad bars:  Proof and Truffle.


As many of you know, there is a comedy club on East 24th Street, which has been a source of major problems as a result of drunken and unruly patrons queuing up for the shows.  We don't want anything like that in our neighborhood.  We will let you know more as our core team researches the particulars of the proposed new venue.


The Gramercy Park Block Association is the only watchdog group in Gramercy Park that is vigilant 24/7 about the preservation of this historic neighborhood.  To support our work , we urge you to join the GPBA for 2012 when you receive a letter this week inviting you to join or renew your membership.


Thank you.


Warm regards,

Arlene Harrison

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