Bay Ridge’s community board changed its tune on Monday, voting to support a 64th Street karaoke bar that the very same panel had opposed six months ago amidst fears that it would harbor prostitutes.
This time, Community Board 10 voted unanimously in favor of Crown KTV’s request for a license to sell beer and wine in the swank sing-along center — so long as the venue complies with a 12-point safety and security plan.
The board originally sided against the venue when neighbors expressed concerns that the karaoke bar’s private booths would function as a brothel, that it was located too close to PS 69, and that it lacked a security plan.
None of the owners of Crown KTV, which is located between Eighth and Ninth avenues, were present at that meeting. Both sides agree that the owners’ absence was a key factor in the earlier rejection.
“By missing that meeting, we were set back six months,” said attorney Glenn Wright, who is representing the karaoke bar.
Eric Zheng, a spokesman for the venue, said the original disapproval had to do with confusion over the nature of the karaoke business.
“This is a cultural misunderstanding,” he said. “The outside of our space was painted blue and red, so people were thinking it was for prostitution. Then they thought it would be a club, but it’s not a club. There’s no room to dance in there — it’s all tables.”
The owners and their attorney were present on Monday, and they agreed to the 12-point plan, which includes stipulations that Crown KTV will observe all music and noise regulations, employ two security guards from 8 pm to 4 am, only admit patrons over age 21, install a video surveillance system, eschew velvet ropes or other sidewalk obstructions, involve no outside promoters, and never use the words “music club or night club” on its sign.
The State Liquor Authority will decide the venue’s case in the coming weeks.
If approved, the windowless warehouse building could open as a swank karaoke bar in mid-October, Wright said.
For the uninitiated, karaoke is a beloved Asian tradition that typically consists of groups of friends gathered around a video screen, picking out instrumental versions of their favorite songs, and then encouraging one member of the group to belt out his own vocal track.
Alcohol is considered vital to that process.
©2009 Community News Group
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