'No Parking' Rule Makes for Un-Happy Hour at Woodside Pub

By Jeanmarie Evelly on January 9, 2013 2:10pm 

WOODSIDE — The new owners of a popular Irish pub in Woodside say a city parking ban on weekday evenings along Roosevelt Avenue is making happy hour, well, a little unhappy.

Dan Connor and James Jacobson, who are taking over the storied neighborhood watering hole Donovan's, say a weekday "No Parking" rule on the south side of Roosevelt Avenue between 4 to 7 p.m. is putting a damper on their business during the evening dinner rush.

"It's not just a ticketing zone — the cars are towed pretty quickly," said Connor, who said some diners who park near the restaurant at 57-24 Roosevelt Ave. have left the pub only to find their cars are gone.

"After having a good meal, it would put a bad taste in your mouth."

Connor and Jacobson, his business partner and brother-in-law, are drawing up a petition to present to the city's Department of Transportation with an appeal to do away with the no-parking rule, in effect along the south side of the street for several blocks, between 51st and 59th streets. Connor says the regulation is unnecessary because that stretch of street doesn't normally see the volume of cars that would warrant it.

"You'll never see two lanes of traffic," he said. "I'm pretty sure that any benefits that were sought after when this law was implemented are heavily outweighed by the losses."

The two business partners recently approached Queens Community Board 2 with their concerns, and chairman Joseph Conley said the issue has long been on the board's radar.

"It's an antiquated regulation that needs to be rectified," Conley said. "We see the tow trucks lining up at 3:55 every day and then they start going up the street like a parade, hauling cars."

A DOT spokesman said the regulation has been in effect on Roosevelt Avenue since 1982. The agency re-evaluated the provision at the request of CB2 and found the parking ban is still necessary to relieve congestion, the spokesman said.

Oscar Beeoya, 48, was among the unlucky drivers slapped with a $65 ticket on a recent weekday after parking on Roosevelt and 54th Street while he darted into a pharmacy across the street just before 4 p.m.

"I didn't even realize it," said the East Elmhurst resident, who said he didn't notice the "No Parking" signs. "It's crazy."

Connor said Joe Donovan, the longtime owner of Donovan's, also complained about the parking rule, saying at least one customer was towed every week, prompting him to consider opening later in the evening to avoid the 4 to 7 p.m. "No Parking" window.

Donovan put the business up for sale this past summer. Connor said he and Jacobson, childhood friends and longtime Woodside residents, have frequented the pub for years — Jacobson worked there as a busboy when he was a teenager — and dreamed of taking over one day if the opportunity arose.

"We always talked about it, that if Joe ever happened to be selling, we'd do it," Connor said. The pair is waiting on their liquor license to be approved before they can formally assume operations.

They expect to take over in the coming weeks, and Connor says they plan to make some small improvements — widen the bar, re-do some of the floors, and expand the menu. But the simple staples that made Donovan's a hit for nearly 50 years, like its burgers and shepherd's pie, will stay exactly the same.

"We're avoiding the word 'change' at all," Connor said.

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