Dear Nicole Paikoff, Aaron Humphrey, and the Members of the CB6 BASA Committee:
On behalf of the more than 2,000 members of the Gramercy Park Block Association, we are writing to object, in the most strenuous terms, to a proposal for a restaurant wine or on-premises license for 284 3rd Ave between 22nd and 23rd Streets. This is the former location of a frozen yogurt business and has never had any type of alcohol license; it is approximately 600 square feet and would not have room for an adequate kitchen or proper food preparation facilities.
As you know, last year the CB6 BASA committee unanimously rejected a proposal by James Hendrick for a wine bar at this location. Like the current application, Hendrick's proposal was for a "Tavern / Cocktail Lounge / Adult Venue / Bar" focused on "sales of alcohol primarily", rather than a "Restaurant" focused on the "sale of food primarily". And while Hendrick proposed only to serve beer and wine, the current application states "Wine and Beer Only" but the cover letter states that the applicant "is applying for an On Premises Liquor License." If the letter is mistaken it suggests a surprising lack of care by the applicant.
In voting to oppose James Hendrick's almost-identical wine-bar proposal, the Committee displayed admirable sensitivity to the unique circumstances of 3rd Avenue between 20th Street and 23rd Street, where nearly every other door is yet another bar catering to the endless flow of nightlife-seekers crawling up and down 3rd Ave every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Indeed the community's concerns were very neatly summarized by BASA Committee Co-Chair Nicole Paikoff (as quoted in DNA info) "This is an OK concept, it's just the worst spot ever for this." (Please see: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120730/gramercy/gramercy-residents-rally-keep-new-bars-at-bay)
As you know, the concentration of bars on 3rd Ave is turning our neighborhood into a new Meatpacking District which does not serve the neighborhood but instead serves the needs of the itinerant drinking crowd from all over the city. Local businesses serving the local community are at risk of being forced out as rents rise to reflect the higher earnings power that liquor licenses in a nightlife district can provide. On these blocks, we don't need any more bars, whatever kind of bar they might be: whiskey bars, shot bars, keg party bars, beer bars or wine bars. Indeed, the development of this nightlife district threatens the historical residential character of the immediately adjoining Gramercy Park neighborhood, the preservation of which was, according to SLA Chairman Dennis Rosen, a key factor in the SLA's decision to deny a Restaurant Wine license at 38 Gramercy Park North, which is less than 100 yards from 284 3rd Ave.
Our neighborhood has its fill of bars and we urge you to help us preserve some semblance of balance in our community by voting "no" on the proposed bar at 284 3rd Ave.
Warm regards to you all,
Arlene Harrison, President
The Gramercy Park Block Association
Sean Brady, Chairman
Gramercy Park Block Association Quality of Life Committee