Park Luncheonette Reopening Renews Feud With Feather Bed Maker

By Meredith Hoffman on January 14, 2013 9:35am 

GREENPOINT — A feather bed maker is ruffled over plans for his neighboring Park Luncheonette to reopen its doors — and local leaders say the conflict revives a decades-old feud between the businesses.

For years the luncheonette owner lamented “feathers flying in customers’ food from the feather factory," Williamsburg Community Board 1 members said.

And now the down mattress makers are protesting the diner's plans to serve liquor when it opens later this year. 

Residents cheered last week when the Park Luncheonette — a renowned soda fountain-turned-diner by McCarren Park where Martin Scorcese’s film “The Departed” was shot before the café closed in 2009 — won Williamsburg Community Board 1’s liquor license approval.

But the owners of Cucker E textiles spoke vehemently against the brunch spot’s liquor license and claimed it would worsen “the very big problem here with drinking” where “children play across the street in McCarren Park.”

“The problem is liquor and beer,” said Cucker E owner Leo Zucker. “It attracts a certain crowd of people, but this is a family area.”

But Community Board 1 members said they had received no other complaints about the diner, and they noted a longstanding tussle between Cucker E and the luncheonette.

“People sitting there eating would complain about feathers in their food,” said liquor license chairman Tom Burrows about past conflicts. “The luncheonette was there forever and people want it back.”

Community Board 1 member Heather Roslund said the tensions dated back 35 years, but she said in recent years Cucker E had cleaned up its act.

“It used to be literally like snow over there all the time,” Roslund said of the feathers.

Zucker also said his business had cracked down on its feather problems. “We do the best we can to clean up every day,” he said.

“It’s not easy to have a restaurant next door,” he admitted, but he said the real issue was the luncheonette’s liquor license.

Ted Mann, the new owner of the luncheonette (who already owns several bars around Brooklyn including Matchless, Cubana Social and Greenwood Park), said he had heard no complaints from Zucker and that he would work to address any of his worries.

“We have always maintained a great relationship with the owner [of Cucker E]. We have been his neighbor for over 10 years at Matchless on the opposite corner,” Mann said of his bar down the street. “My partners will definitely reach out to him to assure him of working out all concerns together.”

Meanwhile, Mann is focused most on revamping the neighborhood eatery with fresh dishes and design.

"We are 100 percent keeping the name but we are still tweaking all the details for food, decor," he said. "We are very excited about this project!"

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