By Carla Zanoni
INWOOD — It’s the war of the petitions in Upper Manhattan, as the owner of a proposed beer garden in Inwood launches a petition in support of outdoor music at his venues in response to a petition created to urge him to keep the noise down late at night.
Gus Anton, owner of the Garden Café and the new Ouva Wine Bar & Beer Garden at 4957 Broadway, posted his "Save Live Music in Inwood!" petition online late last week, arguing he provides a "vital outlet for local residents to engage with their neighborhood's arts and music scene while also creating a destination to attract outsiders into the community."
Anton argues that the city already has a noise ordinance that controls excessive noise and that any attempts by his critics to get the community board to put further restrictions on his restaurant goes "above and beyond these regulations by implementing draconian restrictions that would prevent these venues from presenting live music."
Inwood residents Karla Fisk and Phil Simpson, who created the petition seeking earlier outdoor closing schedules at Anton’s current restaurant Garden Café and Ouva, said Anton’s petition is disingenuous and misses the point of their opposition.
"It is clever to attempt to make the issue about art and culture. But it’s not: the issue is about noise," they said in a written statement. "We’d love to have more live music in Inwood – live music played indoors where people who want to hear it can, and where people who choose not to hear it don’t have to."
So far Anton’s petition has received 33 signatures and 57 people have "liked" it on Facebook while Fisk and Simpson’s has received 39 signatures.
For now, the petitions will have to duke out the issue until Community Board 12 is given the green light to move ahead with a public discussion regarding Ouva’s wine and beer license application.
Currently, the State Liquor Authority is reviewing the beer garden's application for a liquor license. Ouva submitted its original application for a restaurant in March 2010, and then changed it last August to reflect the addition of a beer garden with 24 outdoor seats.
The SLA placed the application on hold in February after the community raised concerns about the restaurant's opening due to a possible paperwork snafu that calls into question whether CB12 was properly alerted to the application.