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Bar fight is brewing on Hoyt Street

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Plans for a bar and grill on Hoyt Street have shattered the calm on the mainly residential street with neighbors saying the would-be bar owner is trying to create a new Smith Street in the midst of their quiet corner of Carroll Gardens.

Residents say they fear the opening of a proposed raw bar serving hard alcohol right next door to a six-month-old wine bar near the corner of Union Street. Taken together, residents foresee the makings of an unwanted, mini-entertainment district — and now they’re trying to stop restaurateur Jim Mamary from getting his liquor license.

“When the Black Mountain Wine House [wine bar] opened, we said Smith Street is creeping up here,” said Mary Hedge, a Hoyt Street resident. Hedge (far left in picture) and some of her neighbors say the bar has increased traffic and noise near their homes since it opened last summer.

The success of the Led Zeppelin–inspired bar is portentous to Hedge. She thinks a new Mamary-owned bar and grill would mean annoyances wafting from outdoor smokers and cellphone conversations.

“We just don’t want to become a nighttime playground,” said Hedge, noting the establishment would be open until 2 am on the weekends.

Rowdy joints are one thing, but the owner says his latest business will be subdued.

“We’ve been mischaract­erized,” said Mamary. “It’s more of a food venue than a drink venue.

Mamary owns several other eateries and watering holes in Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens, including Patois — the restaurant that many say ushered in the Smith Street boom. But he said no boom is forthcoming on Hoyt Street.

“The size of the [new] place is an inherent constraint on it getting out of hand,” he said, citing the 35-person capacity.

Some residents say they support Mamary because activity on the block will make them feel safer when walking home at night.

But people in the immediate vicinity of the bar say the street is safe already, and have rallied to stop the Smithification of Hoyt Street. The opponents have asked Community Board 6 to vote against the liquor license application — an advisory vote that comes before the State Liquor Authority makes the actual decision.

Real-estate experts say that fears of the second coming of Smith Street on Hoyt Street are unfounded, mostly because Hoyt Street has relatively few storefronts.

“Hoyt Street is more residential than either Smith or Court streets, so there is less opportunity for commercial expansion,” said Jim Cornell, senior vice president at Corcoran.

Instead of looking at the transformation of Smith Street, people on Hoyt Street should study the evolution of a street farther west, with a comparable number of stores.

“Henry Street is a good parallel to what Hoyt Street could be,” said Cornell.

“The southern end is where the commercial peacefully coexists with the residential.”

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Reader Feedback

goose from cobble hill says:
To the old farts that oppose new buisness...
If you want peace move to the country not brooklyn!
Jan. 25, 2008, 12:54 pm
Chris from Park Slope says:
These people should be thankful that a respected restauranteur is coming into the spot, he has a track record of running sucessful businesses & has not done this with tequilla shots & strippers. I'm sure the last thing on his mind is pissing of the neighbors after all they are his customers.
Jan. 25, 2008, 6:30 pm
Benjamin from Carroll Gardens says:
Mr. Mamary is a class act. But the bottomline is if the zoning and liq. laws support commerical businesses on Hoyt street he should be allowed in. If the people on Hoyt don't want commerical establishments they should change the zoning.
Jan. 27, 2008, 1:35 am
Addie from South Bklyn says:
The projected restaurant, with its liquor bar annex, has the same storefront length as, for example, Sahadi's on Atlantic Avenue -- on a short block directly between a church and a school! Enough is enough.
Jan. 29, 2008, 5:13 pm
Teresa from Carroll Gardens says:
The zoning laws do NOT permit commercial activities on Hoyt Street, so the people on Hoyt Street just want to keep the zoning the way it is. Anything wrong with that? When they bought their homes, they bought into a residential block.
Jan. 29, 2008, 5:23 pm
Russell from Carroll Gardens says:
Speaking out against a commercial eating and drinking establishment on a residential block does not mean you are opposed to new business, just bad ideas.
Jan. 30, 2008, 6:53 pm
MiMi from CG says:
The owner is NOT a class act. Just look at the fish head filth that spews from that white tented slop joint, The Smith & Union Cafe. I walk by that teaming pile of filth every day and there is no relief! Mamary's partner is the owner of that place! Just you wait, in August the stench of rotting oyster shells will permeate the area. And how can he say there will be no kitchen then say the emphasis will be on food??? Open a coffee shop with WIFI. Something everyone can use. And his neighbors will NOT be his customers...trust me...
Jan. 31, 2008, 11:21 am
Dalton from Carroll Gardens says:
Black Mountain has proven to be a low-key and excellent quality neighborhood restaurant. I would have no problem living next door to the place (I live just a couple of blocks away). I welcome new businesses to Hoyt Street, especially if they are of the same caliber as Black Mountain.

Just because Hoyt Street doesn't have a lot of storefronts now doesn't mean it's always been that way, or that it has to stay that way. The example of Henry Street is a very good one. It is possible to merge residential and commercial areas without turning into Smith Street, which, I agree, is a bit of a mess.
Feb. 1, 2008, 10:54 am
Dig from Carroll Gardens says:
I'd quite like a stripper and shots place in the hood.
Feb. 6, 2008, 6:46 pm
Joseph from Carroll Gardens says:
You should have foreseen this happening. You live in NYC. I live off of 4th and Hoyt for years and I have seen this coming for years. This is an affluent neighborhood and has been for over 6 years. This area never will be as quiet as the suburbs. The same charm that brought all of us to this neighborhood can not just cease because you bought property off of Smith Street. Other people are entitled to make a living here as we do. If you don't like noise or annoying parties, DO NOT LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY! This is not a secret nor is it a desolate area. Don't become righteous because you paid alot of money to live where you do. You were part of the gentrification and now it is becoming a problem for you?
March 6, 2008, 8:55 pm
Joseph from Carroll Gardens says:
Also, about zoning on Hoyt, the same Hoyt Street residents that are complaining about buying property that was zoned for Residential 10, 20 years ago are the some of the same people pushing to get rid of the M1 zoning on 4th Street between Smith and Hoyt Streets. I know this for a fact so as the old saying goes..."People in glass houses..." Some of you are pushing out hard-working businesses that were here before your own sort of "Utopia". You are trying to push industry out of the neighborhood that employ blue-collar men and women so you can be the first to buy up property on the new Gowanus Village or condominiums that will go up in the midst of these businesses. Half of you are about human rights and against the war and saving Darfur, as long as it doesn't hit you in your wallet. Think about the guy who you see everyday that might lose his job because of zoning changes. You have to take the bitter with the sweet. It isn't always about you!
March 6, 2008, 9:06 pm
Tony from Carroll Gardens says:
I've lived on Union Street at the corner of Hoyt for the last 5 years, and would welcome a new raw bar around the corner. My front door is half a stone's throw from the Black Mountain Wine House, and I have experienced no problems with them whatsoever.
March 17, 2008, 10:52 pm
marisa b from cobble hill says:
I too am totally against the opening of this restaurant. Jim Mamary is nothing but a thief and a crook. He opens one restaurant after another then bleeds his partners and the restaurant dry.

I also know for a fact that Jim is a convicted felon. In November of 1988 he was part of an arson scheme. Jim and David Naman - the owner of a Bay Ridge restaurant called "Nightfalls" set the restaurant on fire to get insurance money. He did not serve any time.

I'm sure his application for a liquor license is not in his name. He is not allowed to apply.

Please stop this dishonest man from continuing his unethical tactics.

Thank you.

Marisa B
March 26, 2008, 2:01 pm
Jeff from Boerum Hill says:
These idiots need to move out of the city, it's clear that they have begun the process of trying to control every aspect of the environment around them, by any means necessary. (also known as fascism)

Move to Jersey people, you're gonna lose.
Aug. 13, 2008, 9:27 pm
The Baron from Ditmas Park says:
Marisa B, you're making some pretty incendiary remarks, so to speak, from behind your online anonymity. I wonder if you can back them up. If false, they could be libelous. If it weren't for Mamary, Smith would still be bodegas & drive-bys. And if he "bleeds his partners dry," why did the creators of The Farm in Ditmas Park go on to open another venture w/ him, namely Pomme de Terre?
Oct. 11, 2008, 6:36 pm

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