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Oppose The Renewal of Visana's Liquor License

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The undersigned are submitting this petition to the New York State Liquor Authority and requesting that the renewal of the liquor license granted on June 16, 2015 to Pure Hospitality Group LLC, doing business as Visana at 321 First Avenue, New York, NY 10003 be DENIED.

In the short time that Visana has been in operation it has destroyed the peace, quiet and safety of our neighborhood. It is highly inappropriate for a club such as Visana to be located in a quiet block opposite the residential community of Stuyvesant Town. Visana services very few of our residents and does a disservice to our neighborhood.

The misgivings articulated by Community Board Six (CB6) and certain officials have come to pass.
In January 2015, CB6 opposed the granting of a liquor license to Visana because of the detrimental impact it would have on residential neighbors. In addition, in a letter to the SLA on August 13, 2015 Senators Hoylman and Krueger, City Council members Mendez and Garodnick, and Manhattan Borough President Brewer expressed their concerns.

On February 25, 2016 the Business Affairs and Street Activities Committee of CB6 recommended that the renewal of Visana’s liquor license be DENIED. This was based upon numerous problems including noise complaints, violations of State Liquor Authority rules, lack of a cabaret license etc. Despite CB6’s decision and numerous previous warnings given by the police to Visana, only 2 days after the CB6 decision, on the morning of Feb. 27th into Feb. 28th, a huge, drunk, unruly crowd surged out of Visana. With near riot conditions, at least 3 police cars and 10 officers responded and had difficulty controlling the crowd and one arrest was made. (*please see the video of Feb. 28th posted at https://vimeo.com/157856250

Visana advertises itself as a pizza parlor, speakeasy, and party space but it is a club with pounding music and a DJ. There are storefront business on the block but they cater to the residential character of the neighborhood e.g. drugstore, grocery, laundromat etc. Visana has planted itself in a solidly residential community that consist of families with children, working people, retired people etc.

Visana is an open empty, narrow rectangular space with bench seats and tables around its periphery. At the entrance, a small bar precedes a DJ mixing station. This design, along with the small 70-person capacity, encourages inebriated people to congregate outside while eating pizza, talking on cell phones, and smoking under resident’s windows.
Almost, every weekend, and sometimes as early in the week as Wednesday, Visana’s patrons can be found on the block and in the neighborhood, smoking, yelling, vomiting and sometimes even fighting. Large crowds of drunken patrons exit in the early hours of the morning and disturb residents on the block and the side streets (*Please see video taken on 11/15/15 posted at https://vimeo.com/146440749 Their business does not harmonize with the lifestyle of the people in this neighborhood. As the weather get warmer this situation will get worse.

We would like to point out the following:

• There have been an inordinate number of 311 complaint reports on Visana. The street noise created by patrons of the club is intolerable. Patrons enter and exit the capacity-filled premises en-masse from midnight to as late as 4:00 AM, disgorged by, and returning to, bass thumping vehicles. Screaming drunk, patrons, disturb neighborhood residents. The noise is affecting the sleep patterns and thus the health of the residents as well as our productivity at work and our jobs.
• The 13th precinct police officers have issued numerous summonses to the club owners.
• Crowds have surged out of the club and blocked the sidewalk. Residents have had to walk into the bike path thus creating a hazardous situation.
• Hugh party buses park outside the club directly in the bike path and blast extremely loud music that disturbs residents. This also creates a hazard because bicyclists ride on the sidewalk to get around the buses (*please see the video taken on 1/17/2016 posted at https://vimeo.com/157853413

• There are discrepancies that we found in Visana’s Application for a Liquor license.
A. As reported by the Town & Village Newspaper/Blog on February 25th, (Posted at http://town-village.com/2016/02/25/first-ave-lounge-cited-for-noise-is-trying-to-renew-liquor-license/#more-11309 a spokesman for the SLA indicated that too many licenses had already been issued in this area but this was not disclosed and the license to Visana should never have been granted.
B. In the application, Pure Hospitality Group LLC misclassified the nature of the business. It indicated that it would operate a bar/tavern with a kitchen in the rear, would have music but would not have a DJ, no other businesses would be conducted, and would not have security. However, it is clear that Visana is operating as a Night Club/Dance Club (which is not checked off in the application). It has private parties, a manager checking the guest list, a bouncer at the door, a DJ station and there is no kitchen in the rear.

• Visana’s patrons smoke on the street beneath our windows and the smoke rises into our apartments. We are particularly concerned for their health of our children.
• Patrons regularly vomit on the sidewalk in front of the entrances to buildings (*please see the video taken on 10/17/2015 starting at 12:30 AM which is posted at https://vimeo.com/157852829
• It is located near two schools and is sending a very poor lifestyle message to our children and a poor message about the community in which we live.
• The noise and vibrations from the club’s music has disturbed the residents of 321 and 319 First Avenues and has caused a decreased the habitability of certain apartments.
• According to the New York Post, in his former venture as an illegal-sublet slumlord, David Jaffee operated his business with total disregard to his neighbors creating “excessive noise and traffic” and this pattern is continuing in our neighborhood. (Please see http://nypost.com/2015/04/13/nyc-clamping-down-on-ex-airbnb-slumlord/

It is clear that Visana is severely disrupting the lives of our residents. Pure Hospitality Group LLC is not operating a business which is in the best interests of our community. After only a few months of operation we now have a dangerous club doing business in our community. We are fed up with Visana and would like to have and end to this nuisance that is affecting our health and our lives.

*Please note the text refers to several videos. These were inserted as examples. Several hours of videos are available upon request

 

 



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