No late hours or outside tables at proposed restaurant at 461 W. 23rd

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A new restaurant is being proposed for 461 West 23rd Street (in the previous Barchetta space). The owner’s application asks for 12 outdoor tables with 24 seats occupied until 11 PM Sunday to Thursday and Midnight on Friday and Saturday and inside hours of 8 AM to 1 AM during the week and 8 AM to 2 AM on Friday as and Saturdays, and 10 AM to 11 PM on Sundays. He is also applying for the right to play music in the new restaurant.

We, the undersigned, support demands of residents of London Terrace Towers and London Terrace Gardens for earlier closing hours, no outdoor tables, and no live or loud music. We call upon Community Board 4's Business Licenses & Permits committee to make these stipulations if they choose to grant the new license for this establishment at their meeting on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 6:30 PM at the Yotel at 570 Tenth Avenue at 41st St. in the Green Room, 4th floor (where signers are encouraged to testify). NOTE NEW TIME AND DATE. It then goes to the full Community Board on Wednesday, April 5 at 6:30 PM at Mount Sinai West (the old Roosevelt Hospital) at 1000 Tenth Avenue at 58th St.

The new applicant, Emil Stefkov of Maldon LLC dba Maldon—with whom we at London Terrace have met—says he wants to open a neighborhood-friendly, moderately-priced vegetarian restaurant. He is applying for eight outside tables and 16 seats--in a space where there should not be any outside tables and where there have never been more than two. He also wants to stay open until 1 AM on weekdays and 2 AM on Fridays and Saturdays in an area where all the good restaurants--Red Cat, Trestle, NY Burger Co., and Le Pif right next door--close at either 10 PM or 11 PM. The hours he seeks are more suited to a bar or nightclub, not a restaurant in our residential block. 

We want an affordable, good-neighbor restaurant in that space. But Mr. Stefkov’s record of relations with his neighbors at his other establishments—which caused the loss of a liquor license in one case—has given us pause. We want him to proceed with shorter hours and no outside tables. If he proves himself a good neighbor, we are open to outside tables at some future date—but not to the late hours that he wants.

We fought outside tables at the previous restaurant in this space and got them down to two tables and eight seats that were supposed to be vacated no later than 10 PM each night. The owners of Barchetta abused that stipulation, always staying open too late and annoying the residents of 465 and 455 W. 23rd St. with noise and smoking. Mr. Stefkov is represented by the same lawyer who negotiated the restrictions on the the previous restaurant there which then repeatedly violated the agreement. 

We resist outside tables in general because with the High Line, our sidewalks get an extra three million pedestrians headed to and from it each year making it harder and harder to navigate the sidewalks especially for our elderly residents. The sidewalks are public space that belong to all of us and are not intended for commercial use. Plenty of good restaurants in the area succeed without sidewalk cafes. Furthermore, the area outside 461 W. 23rd where he wants the tables has TWO laundry room vents blowing hot, detergent-scented air at those who would sit there—hardly a good place to enjoy a meal.

 



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