HARLEM — Mother African Methodist Episcopal Church has to cool the late-night partying after the Borough President intervened on behalf of complaining neighbors.
Some locals, however, believe newcomers who don't know or appreciate the role of the church are responsible for the complaints.
Gale Brewer asked the church, located on 137th Street between Lenox and Seventh avenues, to stop renting their community center to private parties that go well into 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., keeping neighbors awake.
According to her office, the church’s pastor agreed to stop the late-night partying.
“I thank Rev. Dr. Chapel and his staff for working with us to address the community’s concerns,” Brewer said in a statement.
“It wouldn’t be Manhattan if we rolled up the sidewalks after sundown, but residents in every neighborhood deserve quiet streets in the small hours of the morning. Under the church’s new guidelines, events and parties can go forward, but under limits that will help everyone in the neighborhood sleep better and feel safer.”
The church agreed to stop all parties at 2 a.m., have staff members monitor each event, and not allow whoever breaks the rules to rent the space a second time, she said.
“I think it’s good,” said Darya Orshkina, who lives across the street from the center, which is behind the church on 136th Street, about the new rules.
Noise from the center kept her and her family awake on Friday and Saturday, she said.
The church did not immediately respond to questions about the community center.
Another neighbor, who declined to be named for fear of upsetting neighbors, said the borough president should’ve gone further.
“They should stop them earlier,” she said. “I called 311, I called the police. There was a fight outside after one of the parties.”
Many residents on the street have gone to events at the community center, which also has office spaces and a day care center. They view it as a highlight of the block so they don’t complain about the parties.
“I had my first birthday there,” said Chad Frost, who is now in his 20s. “This is New York, it’s the city that doesn’t sleep. If you don’t want to sleep don’t move here.”
Another longtime resident, David Wallace, said the complaints most likely come from people who are new to the neighborhood and don’t understand the history of the center.
He said gentrification around the area — a block south of where the historic Renaissance Ballroom was recently demolished to make way for condos — has created tension in the block.
“Over the summer I was having a barbeque for my mother’s birthday,” he said. “A woman came up to me and said, ‘I can’t sleep because of that type of music.’”
That complaint about the music, hip hop, was around 11 p.m. on a weekend, he added.