GPBA's 12-month campaign to oppose bar license
From 2010-2011, the GPBA led hundreds of
38 Gramercy Park North at 21st St
Gramercy residents in a 12-month campaign to oppose a Restaurant Wine license for a late night wine bar planned for the basement of 38 Gramercy Park North, a residential Lot Owner building where no previous license had existed.
GPBA's reasons for opposing bar
Outside groups who supported bar proposal
Despite the fact that the Board of 38 Gramercy Park North fought for the bar, an obscure neighborhood group supported it, and the Community Board
voted "No Opposition" to it, the community pressed on and appealed directly to the New York State Liquor Authority.
Gramercy Park community presses on despite outside groups' support for bar proposal
Our tireless efforts included hiring legal counsel, researching, informing neighbors, organizing letter-writing campaigns, distributing petitions, and testifying at 6 public hearings. The cost to fight the bar, including legal counsel, was $80,000.
38 Gramercy Park North basement under construction for proposed bar in 2010
Outcome: NY State Liquor Authority denies bar license
The State Liquor Authority Commissioners voted unanimously that the license was "not in the public interest," citing the
"character and fitness" of the bar developers and the importance of
maintaining the unique historic residential character of Gramercy Park,
while emphasizing the importance of Gramercy Park to the City of New York.
Excerpt from statement by SLA Chairman Dennis Rosen 1/6/11
"I'm also persuaded that this would not be in the public interest ... reasons that have to do with the character of this particular neighborhood. There was a lot in the letter from Ms. Harrison where she addressed the Landmarks Preservation Commission's comments about this neighborhood and talked about the original Ruggles plan for this neighborhood when he designed it in 1831. I think we're all familiar with this neighborhood. It is special and it's different from much of the rest of Manhattan."
Click here to read the SLA Commissioners' full closing statements
The defeat of this bar was truly a victory for:
The 1831 Samuel B. Ruggles Indenture, which restricts Lot Owner properties (members of the Gramercy Park Trust) from being used for businesses that were "offensive to their neighboring inhabitants." Clearly this is a "slippery slope" issue. If one building is allowed to establish a business offensive to the neighbors and unsuitable, it would make it easier for other Park buildings to argue that they are entitled to do the same, beginning the commercialization of Gramercy Park.
CB6 Public Safety and Environment Committee Fred Arcaro and Harrison explore traffic changes.
Gramercy Park Residents, who worked for 18 years with the Gramercy Park Block Association on extreme traffic congestion and the resulting public safety and quality of life issues on Gramercy Park North, a one lane residential side street where 5 lanes of traffic merge into one. The 13th Precinct described GPN as "the most heavily trafficked street in the Precinct" (there are dozens of articles on our website on this subject).
The 13th Precinct and their public safety concerns in which Commanding Officer Timothy Beaudette testified, "I've never been down here before to oppose any restaurant or bar, but I'm very much against this. The traffic on 21st Street is very, very heavy. I can't be more against the location." He added that any business adding additional vehicle traffic to Gramercy Park North at a location a half a block from the Precinct, had the potential to increase response times both for the police and for Emergency Service Unit #1 by blocking their most direct route from east to west, and also prohibiting them from responding in a timely manner to emergencies on Gramercy Park itself.