Gramercy Park Block Association - Neighborhood News #296

Future of Lyric Diner at 22nd St. and Third Ave.


Last week, several of our GPBA Quality of Life Committee members, led by Chair Sean Brady, attended the CB6 BASA meeting where Lyric Diner was on the agenda. Since many of you have inquired about the future of Lyric, we are circulating Sean's report: 


Dear Neighbors,


The BASA meeting went very well.  The committee received all of the letters our neighbors sent, and several neighbors were in attendance.  


At the meeting, we heard from the Lyric owners' lawyer, who informed us of the following:

  1. They are converting the space from a Greek Diner to a "Greek Taverna"
  2. It will be the same owners
  3. Their hours will be 11 am to midnight, seven nights a week.
  4. Despite the similarity between the words "taverna" and "tavern" they intend to be a restaurant serving alcohol and not a bar/tavern that serves food.  The lawyer checked the wrong box on the SLA form (indicating the opposite) and he said he would correct that in his SLA filing.
  5. They will be applying for a full liquor license in due course, with the same hours (11 am to midnight).
  6. They filed the renewal of their beer and wine license now, instead of waiting until their renovation plans are further advanced, because it was about to expire.  

They will have to appear before the BASA committee again when they apply for the full liquor license, and a 500-foot hearing will be required at the SLA.


Since the lawyer agreed to fix the error in the application, none of us at the meeting objected to the renewal of the beer and wine license, especially with a midnight closing time.  Nevertheless we mentioned a couple points to the committee and to the Lyric lawyer:

  1. When Lyric is ready to apply for the full liquor license they should bring every relevant document and detail to the meeting, including seating charts and menus.  We will expect full disclosure.
  2. A midnight closing time makes us feel much more comfortable, because it underscores that the restaurant really plans to make their money from food, and not by attracting the nightlife crowd.     

In all, it was a very positive meeting.  I think the BASA committee definitely appreciated our attendance.  Also, since the lawyer adequately addressed the issues that caused us concern, we were able to support the application. Once again we  proved that we will support "real restaurants" as long as there is no chance they might morph into bars that also happen to serve food.


Thanks to everyone who wrote letters and/or attended the meeting.  When Lyric comes up for their full liquor license we should organize a similar effort, focused on ensuring that they stick to a midnight closing time.


Best regards,


Sean Brady              

Chair, GPBA Quality of Life Committee


Arlene Harrison

President, GPBA