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La Marina Volume Controls Should Keep DJs Quiet This Summer, Owners Say

By Nigel Chiwaya | April 10, 2014 10:38am
  La Marina's owners said a new sound system will prevent DJs from cranking up the volume this year.
La Marina License Renewal
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INWOOD — The owners of polarizing Inwood hot spot La Marina are promising a quieter summer this year.

La Marina owners Josh Rosen and Jerald Tenenbaum said they've installed new sound-limiting equipment at the Dyckman Street restaurant, lounge and concert venue, and said performers won't be able to pump up the volume anymore.

"We have limiters that were installed so that a DJ would not be able to come in and turn up music past a preset amount that we have determined," Rosen told Community Board 12 at Wednesday night's Licensing Committee meeting, where the controversial bar and restaurant sought a renewal of its cabaret liquor license.

"We’ll make sure that we have our sound engineer on site to be able to control it," Rosen added.

Rosen said that acts that choose not to use La Marina's sound system will be required to end at 10 p.m. Rosen did not say what the volume limit was or how many decibels it would allow.

La Marina has long been accused of violating sound limits, as area residents complain of a flood of noise on Dyckman Street.

"I’ve been on Riverside and it sounded as if I was in La Marina, the music was so loud,” board member Anina Young said.

"We have a right to a night of sleep," resident Katie Weaver added.

Wednesday's meeting, held in a packed cafeteria at Inwood Junior High School 52, drew dozens of supporters and opponents of La Marina.

One supporter, Al Sandoval, said La Marina was a boon to the state economy and accused its critics of targeting the spot because it's frequented by Dominicans.

"La Marina is generating so much monies in taxes for this state," he said. "Maybe you just don't like the faces that are around La Marina, but it's helping so many folks." 

But Inwood resident Shanny Moreno fired back. "Our problem is not the people. I'm 100-percent born and raised in the Dominican Republic. Our problem is the noise you guys cause."

La Marina has also come under scrutiny over concerns it exceeds its legal capacity. While La Marina's original agreement with the Parks Department was for 500 seats, two place of assembly licenses obtained by DNAinfo New York last summer showed the venue had a permitted capacity of 1,800.

When asked by the board, Tenenbaum said only the beach and restaurant required place of assembly permits, and that the venue could hold as many as 2,400 people on most nights. Its capacity could expand to 3,000 people for special events that require Parks Department approval, the owners said.

"The space itself could hold that if we wanted to do a special event, whatever the event may be. We would have the ability to permit for a special event," said Rosen, who added that La Marina applies to host approximately 30 to 40 special events per year.

"We did have permits for all of the special events," Tenenbaum said. "Those are filed through a Parks Department website."

The committee approved La Marina's cabaret application with six stipulations: the owners must post a sign telling patrons to be respectful of the neighborhood, they must get an evaluation from a city-approved sound engineer, they must pledge not to block traffic near the establishment and they must meet with Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and the 34th Precinct. La Marina must also provide the board with a list of its permitted large-scale events.

Also up for discussion at the meeting Wednesday was Papasito Mexican Grill and Agave Bar, formerly the target of community ire on Dyckman Street. Papasito's application was unanimously approved by the board after general manager Eddie Santos said he worked with the community to control volume levels.

"We're nothing compared to what it used to be," Santos said, a statement that was backed by Moreno, who lives above Papasito.

Santos also suggested a monthly Dyckman Street forum between restaurant owners and residents. "We gotta keep the lines of communication open," Santos said.