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Community Board is producing guidelines to determine what restaurants will be permitted to use rear yard space

Alobar's closed rear yard space

Alobar’s closed rear yard space

June 9, 2014 By Christian Murray

A group of about 25 Long Island City residents attended Community Board 2’s monthly meeting last Thursday to express their desire for the board to be more flexible in allowing Vernon Boulevard restaurants to open up their backyard space.

The discussion was tense, with several people—including board members–raising their voices.

The board was resistant to the group’s goals, although Patrick O’Brien, chairman of the City Service/Public Safety Committee, said his committee was working on guidelines that would help determine whether an establishment should be given the right to use its rear yard space.

Jeff Blath, the owner of Vernon Blvd-based Alobar, was the first proponent for a more flexible policy to speak. “I am here to talk about the moratorium on backyard seating on Vernon Blvd,” he said.

Blath said that he had spoken to some of the restaurant owners in the area and that they had put together some guidelines of their own–which they all believed to be fair.

Blath said the owners were willing to compromise as to hours, enforce a no-smoking policy, and ensure that there wouldn’t be any speaker systems in the backyard. Furthermore, he said, the owners would all be in compliance with the Buildings Dept.

“We are not looking to party all night in our backyards,” Blath said.

However, Joe Conley, the chair of Community Board 2, took exception to Blath’s statement about a moratorium on rear yard seating. “There is no such thing as a moratorium on outside cafes in Long Island City. Are we clear about that?”

Conley said Dominie’s Hoek and L.I.C. Bar, which are both located on Vernon Blvd, have outdoor space. He said that both establishments have to go before the board every two years as part of their liquor license “renewal” and get their outdoor space approved.

Conley said the board listens intently to every application. “We listen…to those [people] who live below it and above it [the establishment], and that has been the process,” Conley said.

“This whole movement [claiming there is this] corrupt community board putting on a moratorium…and is hurting businesses… is ridiculous and it has to stop,” Conley said, as he thumped his fist on the table.

However, proponents for outdoor seating argue that it is the “new applications” on Vernon Blvd that are being rejected and that there isn’t a level playing field. They say the new businesses that are coming to Vernon Boulevard are at a disadvantage.

Prior to the meeting, the proponents cited how Woodbines and the L’inizio, the new pizza store about to open on Vernon, had to forgo the use of their backyard in order to get a liquor or beer/wine license. Furthermore, they cited how Blend was unable to use its yard.

Currently, the 51st Street Bakery & Café, located at 5-33 51st Avenue café , has been waiting to hear whether it will be permitted to sell beer and wine in its yard until 8 pm. The owners have been told that they will have to wait until the guidelines are drafted.

Several speakers turned out to Thursday’s meeting to oppose the opening of backyard spaces on Vernon Blvd.

David Haase, who lives next to Alobar, commended the board for being considerate to adjacent home owners. He said the rear yards are like echo chambers and that he could hear everything from the music to the cutlery.

“My apartment opens to the back garden,” Haase said. He said that the board blocked Alobar from using its backspace but compromised by allowing Blath to open the windows.

Paul Short, who lives next to Alobar, said the use of the garden would be a disaster. “There are plenty of restaurants with no outdoor seating and they are doing fine,” he said.

Other speakers spoke about how they don’t mind dealing with the day-to-day noise of city living, but loud establishments are a step too far.

Joe Conley, chair

Joe Conley, chair

Brent O’Leary, the president of the Hunters Point Civic Association, said he was in search of compromise, citing his disappointment that the Community Board would only allow new establishments to get liquor licenses if they agreed not to use their rear yard.

“A large part of the community would love some outdoor space…and people who live there want peace and quiet. I am glad I heard the word compromise.”

Conley said :“Wait you are wrong,” and said rear yards have been approved on Center Boulevard and gave Shi as an example. He also discussed the sidewalk cafes in the area.

O’Leary who was pleased that guidelines were being worked on asked if he could participate in the process.

“I think it would make sense that there be a representative [from both sides] to see if compromises can be reached. I want this to be cordial…throw some ideas around,” O’Leary said.

“You are talking about a hearing,” O’Brien told O’Leary, “This is an exploratory meeting,” where the public can attend but not speak.

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51 Comments

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NotSoAnonymous

Jack, I would like to clear up something about the agreement between L47 and the neighbor.

I have seen the evidence that resulted in the closing of L47 backyard, which eventually cause the business to close its door completely.

Your friend created a very entertaining video for the SLA.

The neighbor antagonized patrons at L47’s back yard and used it to his benefit. Other than that, there were a few minor breaches in the contract, all of which would not be disturbing to a normal person.

Your buddy (the next door neighbor) was on a mission which took him 8 yrs. to accomplish. Yes, there was a few times, maybe 8 or 9 occasions that were after curfew (most were 2 to 8 min.), and again, none of which would annoy a normal person. That is less than 10 after hour whispers over a period of almost 3000 days.

Actually, I would bet that he never heard the voices, but only noticed it when he reviewed his recordings.

Get over it Jack. This should never have happened. The man is a control freak and should be considered dangerous.

Reply
Dorothy Morehead

Not only the Community Board determines whether or not a restaurant can use its backyard. If the occupancy of a bar/restaurant exceeds 75 people, including staff, the Department of Buildings requires a second means of egress to the street.

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Also Anonymous

Doomed seems to think that any resident can and should just leave to accommodate outdoor dining. I disagree.

I also disagree that the existence of City noise means that it’s not an issue to add more noise.

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charles

@Doomed “All the SLA has to do is take a look at the comments on this article to see what the neighborhood favors”. Yes, democracy via anonymous blog posts.

Looks like l’Inizio might be finally opening. Go support it.

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Taxpayer

The West Village has 95 restaurants with outdoor seating on menupages. That doesn’t seem like any ban from Manhattan’s Community Board 2.

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Taxpayer

And who really thinks it is appropriate to make religious or ethnic jokes at a Community Board meeting? Do people still think this is the Archie Bunker 1970s?

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Doomed

If the landlord gives the yard space to the commercial tenant, the commercial tenant has the right to it. If the majority of neighborhood enjoys al fresco dining, the liquor license should be granted with use of the backyard regardless of what the dinosaurs on the community board think about it. This is a different neighborhood today. Stop clinging to a neighborhood that doesn’t exist.

All the SLA has to do is take a look at the comments on this article to see what the neighborhood favors. If you rent an apartment on Vernon, you can rent anywhere. Your rented apartment shouldn’t have this impact on businesses paying ten times what you pay. If you own on Vernon, your property is worth millions and you can surely find a place to live in a residential only zone. The noise complaints are exaggerated. I’ve lived over a restaurant yard and so have others and we all agree, the noise is no different than any other background noise in one of the busiest cities in the world. Living in the city and complaining about noise is like moving to LA and complaining about traffic. Just stop! You sound ridiculous.

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Jack

@ right on

Slow drivers on the information superhighway please move to the right.

It has been explained.

The real precedent in Hunters Point is the compromise reached between Lounge 47 and the local plaintiff re noise. PERIOD. The Community Board, with the participation of said plaintiff have now rescinded that precedent without consultation or explanation.

But it was a COMPROMISE ACCEPTED BY BOTH PARTIES AND ADHERED TO BY THE RESTAURANT.

THE ISSUE WAS SETTLED.

Then what–the individual plaintiff and the Community Board change their collective mind? Having gotten what they demanded, they now hold out for further concessions?

Their current policy is ARBITRARY AND WITHOUT LOGICAL MERIT.

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right on

I guess L.I.C. is not the only community that feels it residents deserve peace and quite in the back yard. Yes the back yards that were built for the enjoyment of the people LIVING in the building, not the commercial spaces that are now becoming part of the norm.

Check out community board 2 in Manhattan, they are NOT APPROVING any liquor license unless they adhere to their strict rules…one of them being, wait for it……NO sidewalk café or backyard gardens. YEAH FOR THEM!!!!!

For people that don’t understand the community board, go to their meeting EVERY month, I do. Don’t only go when it suit your needs.

As for the comment that someone kept repeating the word “bris” in a derogatory way, as if he was making fun of Jewish traditions. The person said bris once and it was not in a derogatory manner. But I guess you need something to bring people to your side and feel bad for your cause.

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Also Anonymous

I don’t get you, sorry. If you don’t want support from me I’ll shut up.

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Anonymous

The problem is… There should be no need to cut slack to those who are ‘sympathetic’
Either you do your job and listen to the facts and make a decision
Or you act like a corrupt ass and just say no because you can
People don’t have to like each other .. Especially in things like politics. They just have to respect one another and the process.
There is no process here and no respect given to the businesses…
Are you saying that if some people were ‘cut some slack’ that this point would get accross?

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WasThereToo

I did say “we”.

Underlying my comments is the observation that this discussion seems to bring up a lot of passion and in some cases anger and negativity.

Forget the one guy who you all hate. How about cutting a little bit of slack toward those who may be sympathetic to your cause while at the same time appreciate the concerns of affected neighbors.

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WasThereFirst

And yet here you are ‘WasThereToo’ participating in this meaningful discussion. You can act like you’re too good to participate in hot button local topics or you can go back to reading whatever pretentious publication you think is superior to your local news outlets.

Just because we’re trying to improve the social scene in LIC and help out our small businesses doesn’t mean we don’t know what else is happening around us. Get over yourself.

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Anonymous

HaHaHa this is classic.
If we participated??? AS IF!!!
Please……. the community board doesnt need our help or opinions…they’ve made is very clear they dont care about anyone other than a select 100 people who live in our beautiful LIC.
They are more than capable of making bad decision all on their own.
We are just pointing them out on this forum.
If there was any indication that peoples opinions mattered, then many more people would ‘participate’
How can you honestly type this crap???
These are looked at on a case by case basis?? Yet NO restaurant or even bakery has been able to open up a backyard??? In how long??
The bakery wants to allow people to sit in the back and eat baquettes and drink a glass of wine. Can it really be a freakin 5 month process to get this approved?? Its not a bar….its a bakery….

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Taxpayer

AlsoAnonymous- with respect to the new applications from the restaurants on Vernon that have yards, all of which have been unable to get past the Community Board the last four years, there is no indication that the Community Board takes into account anything other than if a next-door neighbor objects. An objecting next-door neighbor seems to override everyone and everything else.

If there is more to it, I wish the Board would say what it is, but the only statements they make relate to the objections of next-door neighbors. And if that is the case, that is just a poor standard to use to deprive the businesses and others in the community of the use of yards.

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I'll believe it when I see it

CB2 said that they “listen most to those directly affected” which is basically disregarding the rest of the community. Then they back pedal and say “we’re producing guidelines to determine which restaurants can use outdoor space”?

I’m confused. So does this mean some will be able to use the space while others can’t? Sort of like the state we’re in now? How about giving everyone a chance and if the outdoor space is abused, the restaurants lose it?

I agree with American Taxpayer. The process is not very Democratic, but rather dictatorial.

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Jack

The Crimea enjoys milder weather than most of Russia. They probably have their own guidelines already in place regarding outdoor dining. Anybody have any data on that?

Meanwhile, guidelines may change with the installment of a new regime.

Reply
Stick Figures

Agreed – they are ugly, and dumb down the neighborhood.
I wonder how the people who live about madera and the chinese place feel about the red neon blaring in their windows everyday/night.

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Also Anonymous

‘Welcome to the soviet district of LIC…or China, whichever. ‘

So let’s say the Russian population decides to impose its will on the Ukraine and they seek the support of the Soviet government…

Ok, now I see the comparison.

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American Taxpayer

On a case by case basis? Is that right? So coincidentally, all new restaurants from ‘El AY Si’ through Alobar, OpenDoor, 51st St Bakery & Cafe and the Beer Closet were fairly heard on a “case by case” basis and were all denied the right to use space that their landlords allocated just for them??

Don’t kid yourselves folks. If Dominie’s and LIC Bar were opening in 2014, they would be denied the use of their yards as well.

Welcome to the soviet district of LIC…or China, whichever.

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Also Anonymous

Yes. Case by case basis. That is exactly how it is handled no matter what false information is repeated here and elsewhere. If you actually participated instead of bloviating and making unfounded accusations you would know this.

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Anonymous

It seems like nobody understands the concept of a restaurant requesting to use their outdoor space — or havinng the right to use their outdoor space. Holy Crap its hard having a discussion with people who just dont want to listen.
For the people on this board:
1. It has nothing to do with money.
2. It has nothing to do with restaurants having patrons now.
3. It has nothing to do with having a backyard being essential.

All the people here are saying is — restaurants should be afforded the opportunity to use their outdoor space. We&and CB2 dont have the right to say restaurants dont need outdoor space. If the owner thinks he needs it, or wants it, they should be able to go before the board and request it. And on a case by case basis the board should look at the pros and cons and say yes or no. The yes can be very specific ie – hours of operation, no music, etc.
The only point the people on this board are debating, is how NOBODY gets to open backyard space. If the opportunity was given to some and not others…based on logistics, etc then i would understand. That would be the community board doing their due dilligence and homework….Now, the community board doesnt do any work — and simply says no. All that means is that the system is flawed..period. The fact the nobody gets an outdoor permit means the people in charge dont want it and theyre taking care of a select few friends. Corrupt people in powers of position make it impossible .

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Jack Sundquist

@ WasThereToo

Nobody said a “back yard is essential.” So you didn’t “challenge” anything.

It’s almost like you can’t pay attention to the meaning of words in
the English Language.

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Get in my backyard!

LOL NIMBY! Those stick figures keep begging for attention. If I were the most hated dude in the hood, I wouldn’t want to draw anymore attention to myself.

NIMBY’s can be so “DOOCHEY” : )

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WasThereToo

I never said the idea that business owners say they are losing money is controversial. I simply challenged the idea that a back yard is essential. But apparently that is a controversial thing to say here.

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NIMBY's

This is 200% the work of NIMBY’s. How convenient that nothing on vernon btwn 47th and 47th can have an operational outdoor space.

I live in LIC next to a restaurant w/ a large outdoor space (Breadbox). Doesn’t bother me in the least. Patrons are respectable, and the noise is no worse than anything else coming off the street.

What does bother me are those HIDEOUS NEON STICK FIGURES on Vernon. What board approved that?

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Taxpayer

‘WasThereToo’- you lost all credibility with that last post.

1- the business owners are saying they are losing business by not being able to use their yards. What is so controversial about that statement? One of them is expanding because they are not being allowed to use their yard and is doing so to stop losing the business. You don’t have a valid point here. And as someone above said, how do you know what are the financial situations or P&Ls of these businesses?

2- Please specify these “many insults” from the pro-backyard side that you have “seen”. The posts above counter your claim quite strongly that those opposing the yards have not acted in an insulting way.

3- You seem to be willfully blind to the compromise positions the pro-yard side offers, such as limitations on hours, no smoking allowed, no speakers, no music, etc. Please tell in what manner the anti-yard crowd is offering any compromise whatsoever.

If you want to be taken seriously, you really should try to maintain credibility with your claims and statements.

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Jack

@ WasThereToo

Again, the “reasonable balance” has already been explored, and successfully implemented, at the establishment that once operated a garden at the location now occupied by Woodbines. The compromise involved a curfew. Both sides accepted the terms, so it is assumed that both sides were satisfied with the arrangement, inasmuch as it solved the problem for the complainant. There is your win-win situation.

And this is the “appreciation” the “pro” side has historically extended to the “con” side.

Maybe I can make it a little clearer.

This policy of compromise ought to constitute a precedent for future negotiations regarding the use of outdoor space. This is all the “pro” side is asking.

But…Well, the answer is No.

The Community Board has back-pedaled on such good-faith (and enforceable) agreements, for reasons they are unable to articulate intelligibly. The “pro” side just wants to know why the answer is No, so they would then be equipped to “put some meaningful ideas on the table.”

It is tempting under these circumstances to regard the Community Board with some skepticism, in terms of their own “meaningful ideas,” among which I personally cannot include “indefinite moratorium,” which sounds like the pale artifact of some as-yet undisclosed agenda.

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Done

http://www.timesledger.com/stories/2014/18/licbackyards_tl_2014_05_02_q.html

The first comment on this article is also ‘LittleBear’ who commented on several other LIC Post articles making up lies about Tom Blaze. He’s been copy/pasting this tall tale everywhere he can. Tom was never at Manetta’s after the block party. This is a complete fabrication and an attempt to destroy a business that hasn’t even opened. Disgusting!

And how about about the Garretts hosing down patrons at Lounge 47. Does assault sound like compromise to you? Or stalking the restaurant and having them shut down because they were 10 minutes late getting patrons out of the back yard? So being petty and obnoxious is ok for the opposition…but how dare the proponents of outdoor seating be proactive when trying to help their favorite restaurants!

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Really

I would expand too if I’m going to be paying for the space anyway. Alobar isn’t expanding. There’s nowhere for them to expand to. They simply want to put tables and chairs in their tiny back yard to seat 16.

Woodbines is expanding because after being told multiple times that they can’t use a space that’s the same size as the interior portion of their restaurant, they decided they might as well make use of the space somehow. Building and extension over the unused yard space is a way to ensure they can seat more people and make more money. Why let all that space go to waste and continue to pay month after month for it????

They’re not expanding people there’s a line of people out the door waiting to get in. You’ve obviously never owned a restaurant before.

Also, if you’re going to be offended by every inflamed comment on a blog, perhaps you’re too sensitive for the internet. It’s just a comment section on a blog. Nobody takes it that seriously.

As for insulting comments and incorrect facts from the opposition, here you go:

http://queenscrap.blogspot.com/2014/04/restaurant-patrons-want-to-sit-outside.html

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WasThereToo

‘Taxpayer’ – I never said the Board or anyone should determine regulations based on a business model or financial health. I simply asked if anyone had any idea why these two restaurants on the very block that everyone feels has been restricted the most are frequently packed and expanding. Given the argument that businesses need their backyards to improve or even save their bottom line, are you saying this is not something to bring into the discussion? It’s like oh, yeah that… let’s just ignore that.

The statement ‘and the other side, in an insulting way, unwilling to accept anything other than a total ban on the usage of the yard’ doesn’t at all jive with what I observe. I have seen many insults and accusations from the pro backyard side and have yet to see one from the opposed side.

But more important than any of this is, there ARE voices on both sides seeking a reasonable balance. I totally get what you want. I haven’t heard much in the way of people from the ‘pro’ side extending any appreciation for the opposition’s position. If you are really about compromise put some meaningful ideas on the table that can become a win-win situation.

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Really

That was my point as well Anonymous. ‘WasThereToo’ keeps saying they are thriving. Does he look at their financials? Is he standing outside every hour of every day to see when they’re slow and when they’re busy?

These spaces likely cost around 10K-12K a month in rent alone. Add all the other expenses to that and it requires a lot of business to cover those costs before the owner can pay himself/herself a salary.

Get real. Having full tables a couple of nights a week is not an indication that the restaurant is “thriving”. If taking advantage of outdoor space would help keep these restaurants open or make it easier to pay the bills AND make patrons happy, it’s a no brainer.

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Taxpayer

I was at this Community Board meeting and this article provides a good description of what happened and the different positions taken on this issue.

It is just silly to say that the Board should deny the use of the yards because some other restaurants on Vernon are busy, or that a business owner shouldn’t say that restricting the yard use hurts business because another restaurant gets good crowds. It is not the appropriate function of the Board to determine what business model would be successful or not, or to tell a business owner that he must accept a reduced level of business for no good reason.

What I see is one side willing to compromise, by agreeing to restrictions on hours and usage, and the other side, in an insulting way, unwilling to accept anything other than a total ban on the usage of the yards, which would be unlike all other places in NYC that have restaurants with yards in mixed use commercial/residential streets.

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Anonymous

People here are nuts.
Im trying to understand the point of WasThereToo arguement.
Are you saying that — because a restaurant is successful, that they dont need or deserve to have the opportunity to use outdoor space?
Are you saying that outdoor space wouldnt help Alobar be more successful?
Its none of your business to know why Alobar needs its little outdoor space to be successful.
The point is that they should be afforded the opportunity to use it….with some restrictions.

Reply
Jack

@LIC res

There WAS a compromise between the two sides of this issue, for a few years, at the address now occupied by Woodbines, on Vernon Boulevard between 47th Avenue and 47th Road. Compliance with the terms of the compromise was monitored by local residents, and Community Board #2 was aware of the arrangement.

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LIC Res

I am glad CB2 cares about the local residents, but cannot follow CB2’s logic. Seems a compromise would be quite easy here.

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Ro

mor·a·to·ri·um
ˌmôrəˈtôrēəm,ˌmär-/
noun
a temporary prohibition of an activity.
“an indefinite moratorium on the use of backyards”

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WasThereToo

‘Really’ did not answer a very simple question. Why are both Woodbine and Blend successful to the point where they are expanding? Alobar keeps saying that a rather small backyard space is all that stands between them and success. I say Really??

On the point of compromise – sounds good but I hardly see a whiff of anything here that sounds like a willingness to appreciate the opposite view.

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Really

Bravo Jack!!

You’re missing the point ‘was there too’. Just because they get a good crowd doesn’t mean they don’t need the revenue from the yard to cover the cost of supplies, employee wages and the cost put into opening the restaurant. It can take up to three years to see a dime of profit. All of these places without the use of outdoor space have witnessed customers walk out the door in search of garden seating seating. Some prefer the gardens and not the sidewalks.

The bottom line is, (Jack also emphasizes), you can’t say it’s ok for some and not others.

If the restaurant owners are willing to compromise, why isn’t the community board? Why can’t they treat each restaurant individually and give them the benefit of the doubt before hastily judging their motives and holding their liquor licenses hostage?

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WasThereToo

The bias of this article would never pass journalism standards. And some of the spin that people have added is equally weak on facts. I do agree that Center Blvd is not Vernon but Mr. Conley also included Domini’s and LIC Bar. The post about mentioning a bris is ludicrous. Mr. Hasse mentioned it once in the form of a joke. It was in no way derogatory. Too bad weak arguments are being backed up with nonsensical spin.

The critical point that folks including Mr. Blath, Mr. Murray, and others have missed is please ask yourself why are Woodbines and Blend – both on the block with the supposed devil incarnate – thriving to the point where both restaurants have needed to expand. And both restaurants have found ways to expand that are not adding to outside noise. What are they doing that Alobar can’t seem to do?

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Jack

Evidently, by their actions, the board considers their current policy to have a legitimate precedent. By successfully preventing Blend from opening their outdoor space before a single decibel of sound was emitted, the board established a de facto precedent reliant on a very rational conclusion: the POTENTIAL exists that the use of Blend’s outdoor space would result in undesirable noise, and thus, potentially, constitute a disturbance to residents in the vicinity. Abandoning the past (and functional) principle of compromise, the policy-makers sitting on Community Board #2 have established a loftier goal in their service to the residents of Vernon Boulevard and the adjacent numbered streets. I am well aware that some people have been disturbed by the noise of outdoor dining, thus this “potential” may also be expressed as an undeniable likelihood.

Consonant with this ardent desire to protect people from disturbance, the Board also must exhaust every means to effect the abolition of all existing outdoor seating, phasing out the use of outdoor spaces at Dominie’s Hoek, LIC Bar, and any other such spaces located within the boundaries of the Board’s putative “authority;” I see no reason not to apply the same standard to the entire area served by the Board, i.e., Woodside, Sunnyside, etc.

To be logical, and therefore worthy of respect and credibility, government must strive for such consistency, or, as this mandate is articulated in the Constitution of the United States, “to promote the general Welfare,” something difficult to imagine in only a two- or three-block area.

So, we must go on. To be consistent with the principle of protecting residents from the potential to be disturbed, it is incumbent on the Board to arrange, through their influence with the New York State Liquor Authority, a prohibition on the issuance of any permits for sidewalk seating as well, which shares the same potential for disturbance as gardens or yards. It may take some time to rescind the existing permits, but certainly a year or two is an achievable target.

The members of Community Board #2 may have considered the financial strain imposed on commercial establishments that discover their outdoor spaces will generate no profit, but this is clearly less important than the potential for disturbance.

But let us consider other outdoor spaces.

Again, to be logical, it seems to me that any outdoor space may be vulnerable to the same kind of abuse. Any gathering in the yard or garden of a PRIVATE residence likewise has the same potential to disturb neighbors. But we have the lofty ideal, and we have the de facto precedent. All we need now is the Board’s unwavering commitment to controlling the potential for disturbance.

It is also worth noting that the embargo on the use of private outdoor spaces represents little or no financial setback for property owners. It is obvious then, that the Board members must immediately begin drafting (if they have not yet begun to do so) these essential ordinances to control the potential for disturbance, and must then submit them with alacrity and resolve to the appropriate municipal entities.

It is equally obvious that members of the Board have themselves the opportunity, or more precisely, the duty, to set an example for the entire community, by pledging never to use their own yards for any purpose which may present the potential for disturbance, thereby limiting access to only the minimum required for maintenance and inspection. To ask others for sacrifice and not offer the same themselves seems, in my humble opinion, ignoble. For maximum effect, their pledges to equal sacrifice should be made public and, to be fair and transparent, thoroughly documented. Compliance with such agreements should be monitored thereafter as the Board sees fit.

Then there are the parks. These may exist for the purpose of enhancing the lives of the population, but parks also have the potential to attract elements that cause disturbance. The current Board members no doubt will devise ways to eliminate this potential. For example, they may determine it necessary to sequester children (who neither pay taxes nor vote) to specific areas of these outdoor spaces, confining outbursts, such as laughing or screaming, to zones as far removed as possible from residential addresses. Unfortunately, to make manifest the current ideal, some smaller and/or more congested parks may require decommissioning–again, in the interests of logical consistency, and maintaining a rigid posture above compromise.

I sincerely offer these thoughts and observations in hopes that they serve the further progress of the Community Board’s courageous and innovative policies.

/s

Reply
Taxpayer

How can a community board have an “exploratory” meeting but not accept comments from members of the public who attend? How do you “explore” the community’s views if you don’t allow them to speak?

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Disappointed

I heard those comments as well. He kept repeating the word “bris” in a derogatory way, as if he was making fun of Jewish traditions. Jeff said he’s never even had a bar mitzvah at Alobar.

I think the neighbors in opposition are exaggerating the noise level. Forks dropping and restaurant chatter aren’t noisy enough to warrant a ban on garden dining over 3 blocks!! Sorry!

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Sonny L.

It is true that Center Boulevard is not Vernon Boulevard. It is also true that those restaurants wishing to open their backyards are on Vernon Boulevard between 47th and 46th.

Also, one “neighbor” who was in opposition of Alobar’s TINY backyard was being totally inappropriate and making anti-Semetic remarks aimed at the owner Jeff Blath. I was truly shocked and could not believe the words coming out of that person’s mouth.

What is MORE shocking is that none of the leaders of the CB2 said anything about it.

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Sonny L.

Congratulations to everyone for being able to come together on this matter. Thanks to the Board members and to those who came to speak on behalf of the general LIC population. We were there until 11 PM, which just goes to show how passionate we are as a community.

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Anonymous

Is this guy Conley really giving examples of restaurants on Center blvd. with sidewalk cafes?

We can only eat outside where you allow it? What if I don’t like the places you suggest, or what if they’re out of my price range? You eliminate choices for residents and bribe restaurants to keep the yards shut or not have a liquor license? IS THIS CHINA!?!? What’s the agenda behind that?

The thing is, more people enjoy garden dining than sidewalk cafes because they’re quaint, pretty, and away form the street. Having multiple restaurants that offer this amenity is a plus and brings revenue to the neighborhood from visitors.

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Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams explained that the school lost nearly a quarter of its students at the height of the pandemic due to the economic effects of the lockdown on low-income Queens households.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.