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Proposed East Broadway Bar Narrowly Gains Community Board Approval

By Serena Solomon | June 27, 2012 12:07pm
A new bar, proposed for 221 East Broadway, has divided local residents and the community board.
A new bar, proposed for 221 East Broadway, has divided local residents and the community board.
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DNAinfo/Serena Solomon

LOWER EAST SIDE — A yet-to-be-named bar proposed for a "quiet" East Broadway block narrowly won community board support Tuesday night, with many residents remaining divided on the plan.

Owners of the bar, located at 221 East Broadway, earned the approval of Community Board 3’s full board after a split vote by a lower committee last Tuesday night left the proposal in limbo.

About 40 community board members discussed the issue for more than 90 minutes before voting to support the bar’s full liquor license, but only after bar co-owners Andrew States and Sivan Harlap were forced to concede to stipulations such as closing their windows earlier to bottle up noise.

States and Harlap, who also owns and operates the East Village bar B-Side, agreed to close the proposed nightspot's windows at 9 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. and to serve food the entire time the bar is operating — 3 p.m. until 4 am., seven days per week. Originally the bar had only planned to serve a limited menu of fish, chips and falafel until 1 a.m.

However, both States and Harlap called the vote a welcome decision.

"It's so relieving. It's exhausting," States said Wednesday.

The board's approval is also conditional on the the State Liquor Authority clearing up confusion over whether the bar is far enough away from the nearest church or school, as is required under law, before granting the license.

The SLA rules that an establishment with a liquor license must sit at least 200 feet away from a school, church, synagogue or any other house of worship.

P.S 137 and P.S 134 are only blocks away from the proposed bar, and the space's front door is within 200 feet of Iglesia Cristiana Primitiva church at 207-209 East Broadway, according to measurements by lawyer Alan Ross, who was brought on by a group of residents from the nearby Seward Park Co-op.

"A block away from a school is not a good thing," said Vaylateena Jones, a Lower East Side resident of 50 years and a board member who voted "no" to the bar's liquor license.

Nifa Segama, who has attended the church for 15 years, said a bar would alter the neighborhood.

"The one thing you could say about south of Grand [Street] and east of Essex [Street] was we were a quiet residential community," Segama said, arguing against those who felt a late-night bar would be a beacon in an otherwise dimly lit area.

"A solution to having a safer community isn't about putting a bar in seven days a week," she said. "It's about working with your local [police] precinct."

However, the bar owners commissioned their own measurements and found the distance from their bar's entrance to the nearest church or school was more than 220 feet away, they said.

The bar is currently on track to open in the fall and is currently applying for Department of Building permits.

"We couldn’t have happily gone on with it if they hadn't approved it. We didn't want to throw it in their faces," States said.

"These are people we are going to have to deal with and be around however long we have the bar."