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Community Board Takes Fight Against Pub Crawls to City Officials

By Mary Johnson | September 16, 2011 10:46am
Chris Solarz, the organizer of a team trying to break the Guinness pub crawl record on Sept. 3, 2011, drinks a beer at Dumpling Man on St. Mark's Place.
Chris Solarz, the organizer of a team trying to break the Guinness pub crawl record on Sept. 3, 2011, drinks a beer at Dumpling Man on St. Mark's Place.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Wall

KIPS BAY — After months of work to curb pub crawls in east side neighborhoods, members of Community Board 6 are now taking their concerns directly to city officials.

At a meeting Wednesday night, the board voted to approve a resolution to ask elected officials and public agencies for help with the issue, which they claim is severely disrupting their quality of life.

“It’s just turned out to be a nightmare with everything going on,” said Carol Schachter, chair of the business affairs and street activities committee, at the meeting on Wednesday. “We just thought it was time to turn around and go on record that we are against the idea of pub crawls in general."

The business affairs and street activities committee has been actively working to prohibit pub crawls in the area, claiming that packs of people plus too much booze lead to excessive noise, vandalism and public urination.

The committee has been asking every bar owner who comes before the committee to sign an agreement stating that he or she will not participate in pub crawls.

So far, area bars seem amenable, with most establishments more willing to accept a ban on pub crawls than the committee’s request for 2 a.m. closures.

The latter stipulation has been a sticking point for many bars looking for support from the committee before they go before the State Liquor Authority to obtain their liquor licenses. One bar planning to set up shop in the Gramercy area even withdrew its application after committee members said their approval was contingent upon a 2 a.m. closing time.

The committee has no binding authority in the issuing of liquor licenses, but the State Liquor Authority does take its recommendations into consideration when making their decisions.

The committee said it had collected letters of support from several community groups similarly fed up with pub crawls, and working toward a ban has been a central part of their work over the past several months.

But the plan to bring the matter to city officials met with some pushback from the full board on Wednesday night.

One woman raised a concern about the impact to area businesses at a time when people are already struggling.

The committee’s vice chair, Steve Dubnoff, responded that the bars he’s spoken with do not reap significant financial rewards from pub crawls.

Dubnoff cited one bar owner in particular who said the payoff from pub crawls was not worth the problems that can come when large groups of people start bouncing from bar to bar.

In the end, the measure to seek an end to pub crawls passed easily.

“The residents and many of the businesses in our community have been struggling with the issue of promoting commerce while maintaining our quality of life,” said Mark Thompson, chair of Community Board 6.

“Through this resolution, we are formally asking for our elected officials and public agencies to help resolve the problems created by out-of-control pub crawls.”

DNAinfo reached out to several pub crawl organizers, but none of them immediately returned calls and emails seeking comment.