Brides Slap Sandy-Shuttered Seaport Wedding Venue with Lawsuits for Refunds
SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — Rina Plapler said it was her last resort.
A month ago, the frustrated bride finally decided to sue Bridgewaters, a once-popular catering hall in the South Street Seaport that has remained shuttered since Hurricane Sandy, in what she called a last-ditch attempt to collect money the venue still owes her for a wedding that never took place there.
“We tried calling them, emailing them, so many times,” said Plapler, 46, a Murray Hill resident. “We told them we were going to take them to court, and still no response — so we did what we felt we had to.”
According to court documents, Plapler is owed a nearly $4,000 refund. She said that's the last of a $15,000 deposit she and her husband made for what they hoped would be a February wedding at the Fulton Street hall.
After Plapler said she was “strung along” by the venue in the wake of the October storm, Bridgewaters — which is embroiled in its own legal battle with landlord Howard Hughes Corporation over when, or if, the venue will be able to reopen — finally told her a month before the wedding that it couldn’t hold the event, and promised to return her cash in full.
“We understand they were forced to close, and they want to reopen, but they have been just terrible with communicating with us,” Plapler said. “First we have to change our entire wedding at the 11th hour, while they owed us money, and now they just stopped responding to us completely.”
Plapler and her husband ultimately held their wedding at the Yale Club of New York in Midtown.
The Glazier family, which owns Bridgewaters, declined to comment.
As DNAinfo New York first reported in January, dozens of would-be married couples were left scrambling for new venues and coping with delayed refunds as the popular venue remained closed after the storm.
Now, more than six months after Sandy, several brides said they are still waiting for money — and updates from the company.
A mother of a bride, who asked that her name not be used as she’s contemplating legal action against the company, said her family is owed more than $10,000 for a wedding originally scheduled for March.
“In a way I feel sorry for them, and in a way I feel like they stole my money,” said the mother of the bride. “They told us they would pay us back in increments, once a week, [and then] they paid us a few checks, at least one bounced, and then we get nothing and hear nothing.
“It’s so frustrating. I think I’d prefer if they said outright, ‘Look, we’re screwed, and we don’t know when we can get you the money,’ than telling me, ‘We’ll get you a check every week.' At least I wouldn’t be staring into my mailbox every day,” she added.
Along with Plapler’s suit, Bridgewaters is also facing another small claims lawsuit for $5,000, filed in April, according to court documents.
Howard Hughes, which countersued Bridgewaters for back rent after Bridgewaters sued for the ability to reopen, did not respond to a request for comment.
In January, a Manhattan judge slammed Howard Hughes for its slow-moving repairs, but the court has not granted the injunction Bridgewaters was seeking that would force its landlord to reopen.
However, at a recent meeting with Community Board 1, Howard Hughes Senior Executive Vice President for Development Christopher Curry said the company was aiming to repair the Fulton Market Building, where Bridgewaters is located, by 2014.
Plapler and Bridgewaters are scheduled for a July 11 court appearance.