SoHo Pop-Up Cafe Battle Ends with Only One Location Approved
By Kiratiana Freelon on March 25, 2011 9:56am |
By Elizabeth Ladzinski
GREENWICH VILLAGE — Community Board 2 approved the application Thursday night of one pop-up cafe on Sullivan Street in SoHo, resolving a dispute about the number pop-ups that should be allowed in the neighborhood.
The committee approved only the proposal submitted by Local Cafe after discussing applications for six pop-up cafes slated for SoHo and Greenwich Village, including two on Macdougal Street. The community board approved the pop-up at 144 Sullivan St. because they thought it would provide the most benefit for the community.
The board received a petition signed by almost 200 people living in a two block radius of Local in support of putting in a cafe in front of the restaurant. It also received several letters vouching for the owners dedication to the community as a resident of an adjacent block for 22 years.
"This is one that neighborhood folks wanted," said Maury Schott, chair of the subcommittee for Sidewalks, Public Facilities & Public Access, while describing Local's application to the board.
Local also has insurance for the restaurant and will investigate extending it to the cafe, a point that was missing from other applications, according to the board.
While most decisions by CB2 are only advisory, in the case of the pop-ups, the board's decision is final.
Dozens of residents appeared at the meeting to voice their concerns with the various pop-ups proposed. Many said the pop-ups would cause too much noise, bring more traffic congestion, and attract more rodents and other pests because of increased trash.
However, a few in attendance were in favor of the cafes, including Shea Hovey, 35, of Greenwich Village, who initially helped push the idea for the pop-ups with the Department of Transportation last January.
"I'm really surprised at how big of a controversy this has become," Hovey said. "All six locations add up to 1,600 square feet, and I think that's smaller than some penthouse apartments in SoHo."
The board nixed a renewal application for a liquor license for pop-up cafe called What Happens When, which serves as a restaurant and arts installation. However, the State Liquor Authority will have the final say on that issue.
Construction of the pop-up cafe at 144 Sullivan Street will begin in May, according to Monty Dean, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation.
The space will contain three to four small tables, with seating for eight people total, and will close by 9 p.m. daily. It is set to be open from May until Oct. 15 for the next two years, and no smoking or drinking will be allowed in the space.